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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Tech engineers attend French workshop

By Liz Crumbley

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 30 - April 30, 1998

To join with European colleagues in promoting a global approach to educating the next generation of engineers, several representatives of Virginia Tech traveled to the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (INPG), France, in December for the Global Engineering Education Workshop.
The increase in internationally owned companies and projects has spurred a growing demand for engineers who can work successfully in foreign countries. The Grenoble workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and organized by INPG, Virginia Tech, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, as an international exchange of information about methods of improving global education for engineering students.
Speakers from the U.S., England, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium addressed issues including the impact of globalization on engineering practice and education, engineering curricula world wide, information highways and multimedia, and industry and university cooperation on a global scale.
Virginia Tech College of Engineering Dean F. William Stephenson presented the college's plan to form a consortium of 15-20 engineering schools world wide to collaborate on issues such as communications, computers, energy, transportation, materials, and management.
In his closing remarks to the workshop, Tech Vice President for Development and University Relations Charles Steger said the structure of world economics systems has been changed by factors such as communications technology and the flow of global capital. Steger said educators and industries must address new issues: "How can we engage in the design and production of products in an ecologically sensitive way based on sustainable strategies? How do we relate global perspectives to global action in terms of economic and industrial strategies? How will we incorporate new learning strategies? Given the declining or stagnant populations of developing countries and the increasing populations of developing countries, what political changes will occur to re-order our technological priorities?"
Other Tech administrators attended the workshop, including Provost Peggy Meszaros and Pamela Kurstedt, assistant dean of engineering for enrichment and international programs.