04/22/14 4:54 pm Age: 183 days

Engineering Introduces New Global Humanitarian Engineering Program

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By: Rosa Jimenez

Program Begins in the Fall

In-the-field experiences are required for the new program.

After two years of planning, Walla Walla University’s Edward F. Cross School of Engineering will offer a global humanitarian engineering emphasis program beginning this fall.

Students in the program will complete core engineering classes as well as courses in religion, business, culture, and ethics. Also required will be an international service or work experience, such as participation in Engineers Without Borders, student missions, or Peace Corps, or work with a non-governmental organization or company.

Walla Walla University’s first Engineers Without Borders projects in Honduras sparked a move to offer more students the chance to experience global service, as well as earn academic credit for their involvement.  “We recognized that a successful international development project requires far more than just technical skills,” says Brian Roth, professor of engineering. “It requires cultural sensitivity, multicultural communication, team building, and project management skills.”

The first Engineers Without Borders projects, two school structures and related infrastructure improvements, were completed in Honduras communities in 2010 and 2012. The chapter’s current project is working with the community of Pucutuni, Peru, to design and install a new water system for the town.  

“Engineers should have an understanding of global development issues and build cultural awareness,” says Curt Nelson, founder of the WWU Engineers Without Borders chapter. “We hope students will learn to recognize humanitarian needs and build a team to meet those needs, and perhaps most importantly, reflect on their place in society.”

Along with developing such understanding and awareness, Nelson says, this program will help students be better prepared for careers in international development work, and to work with multinational companies. Doug Logan, dean of the School of Engineering, observes that there is trend in engineering education toward providing students training for working effectively in a global setting. “The new program will enhance our students’ competitiveness in the global economy.”

For more information on the global humanitarian engineering emphasis program, visit engr.wallawalla.edu/ghee
 
Published April 22, 2014


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