Welcome to “CEDO Viewpoint”, the new blog from the Center for Engineering Diversity & Outreach. Through this vehicle, we will give a voice to the thoughts, hopes, aspirations and frustrations of the many leaders within CEDO. Everyone within our Center is a leader…passionate about our mission of stewardship within the College in order to unleash upon the world an increasingly diverse, globally competent and creative engineering workforce ready to take action and change the world. Through Viewpoint, we will share our passion and hopefully spark more in others.
The concept of a “globally competent engineer” is one that we are particularly excited about and yet have not fully defined or understood. We are working with our partners within the College, especially with International Programs (http://goabroad.engin.umich.edu) to better define what we mean by this. We’ve also engaged our Center’s External Advisory Council (a group of over 20 corporations, governmental agencies and educational leaders) to broaden our thinking of what it truly means to be a globally competent engineer. While we don’t have a definitive definition yet, some key components are clear:
· Skills: every engineer graduates from the UM College of Engineering with an outstanding set of technical skills. However, it takes some additional skills to be successful in today’s globally connected world. Engineers rarely work alone. They usually are the part of a technical team and therefore need to effective team players. Team skills include how to be both an effective leader of others AND an effective follower. Increasingly, these skills are challenged by the nature of team makeup (which is more and more diverse culturally) and scope (large complex problems with global reach and implications). It takes additional skills to be effective in working with people from different countries and cultures in teams that span both geography and time zones.
· Experiences: increasingly, it is expected that engineers have actual experience in working in multicultural settings. Having worked in internships or studied abroad dramatically increases the multicultural competency of an engineer as well technical effectiveness. Hiring companies are looking for this experience; those that have it have a leg up in seeking the best jobs.
· Mindset: engineers solve problems. It is what we do! To solve problems, you have to be creative…to see novel possibilities; to think out of the box (or remove the box all together!). Having the ability to think and see the world in different eyes and to appreciate the creativity that this brings will be a key factor for being a successful engineer in the future.
CEDO is dedicated to enabling the College to provide a rich learning environment through diversity of thought, experience and skill. The College has much to offer students to build their capabilities in all three dimensions. CEDO works to ensure we have a diverse student population and then encourages all students to take full advantage of the many learning opportunities that are here.
Managing Director, CEDO
Managing Director, CEDO