The Global Engineer

  • Douglas Bourn


Engineering is clearly a global profession and this discipline has witnessed a major expansion of the impact of globalisation in terms of skills needed to work around the world and to recognise the value of broader interdisciplinary skills.

This chapter reviews the ways in which the concept of the ‘global engineer’ has been developed and promoted within higher education courses. It also recognises the contribution that engineering student networks have played in terms of encouraging the need for ‘globally orientated’ skills to be effective engineers. The chapter looks also at the increasing importance given to inter-cultural competencies and a major European project on the Global Dimension to Engineering Education.


Global Engineering Student Network Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Accreditation Board For Engineering And Technology (ABET) Global Preparedness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). (2016). Accreditation Policy and Procedure Manual 2016–2017: Baltimore: ABET. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from
  2. American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). (2013). Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education: Workshop Report – Synthesizing and Integrating Industry Perspectives. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from
  3. Babuscia, A., Craig, J. L., & Connon, J. A. (2012). Teaching Practical Leadership in MIT Satellite Development Class: CASTOR and Exoplanet Projects. Act Astronautica, 77, 138–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baillie, C. (2012). Global Dimensions in Engineering: A Guide to Running Workshops for Engineering Students. Perth: Western Australia, Engineering, Social Justice and Peace. Retrieved June 10 2018, from
  5. Baillie, C., Pawley, A., & Riley, D. (Eds.). (2012). Engineering and Social Justice. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Blum, N., & Bourn, D. (2013). Global Perspectives for Global Professionals in the UK: Engaging Students Within Engineering and Health. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 43(1), 37–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bodnar, C. A., & Clark, R. M. (2017). Can Game-Based Learning Enhance Engineering Communication Skills? IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 60(1), 24–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourn, D. (2009). Global Engineer – Strategies for the Way Forward. Unpublished paper for National University of Ireland, Galway.Google Scholar
  9. Bourn, D., & Neal, I. (2008). The Global Engineer. London: Engineers Against Poverty.Google Scholar
  10. Bourn, D., & Sharma, N. (2008). Global and Sustainability Perspectives within engineering. The Municipal Engineer, 161, 199–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Budney. (2015). Adding an International Senior Design Component into the Civil Curriculum. Paper presented at 122nd ASEE Annual Conference. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from
  12. Cech, E. A. (2014). Culture of Disengagement in Engineering Education? Science, Technology and Human Values, 39(1), 42–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Daniel, K. L., & Mishra, C. (2017). Student Outcomes From Participating in an International STEM Service-Learning Course. SAGE Open, 9(1). Scholar
  14. Danielewicz-Betz, A., & Kawaguchi, T (2013). Equipping Engineering Students with Global Skills, 2013. International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning, IEEE, pp. 733–736.Google Scholar
  15. Downey, G. (2008). The Engineering Culture Syllabus as Formation Narrative: Critical Participation in Engineering Education Through Problem Definition. University of St. Thomas Law Journal, 5(2), 427–456.Google Scholar
  16. Downey, G. L., Lucena, J. C., Moskai, B. M., Parlhurst, R., Bigley, T., Hays, C., Jesiek, B. K., Kelly, L., Miller, J., Ruff, S., Lehr, J., & Nicholas-Reif, A. (2006). The Globally Competent Engineer: Working Effectively with People Who Define Problems Differently. Journal of Engineering Education, 95, 107–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Engberg, M. (2013). The Influence of Study Away Experiences on Global Perspective-Taking. Journal of College Student Development, 54(5), 466–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Engineers Without Borders UK. (2018). Engineering for People Design Challenge. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from
  19. Hariharan, B., & Ayyagari, S. (2016). Developing Global Preparedness Efficacy. In W. Leal Filho & S. Nesbit (Eds.), New Developments in Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (pp. 81–90). Cham: Springer International Publishing.Google Scholar
  20. Jesiek, B., Zhu, Q., Woo, S. E., Thompson, J., & Mazzurco, A. (2014). Global Engineering Competency in Context: Situations and Behaviors. Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, 8(1).Google Scholar
  21. King, R. (2008). Engineers for the Future: Addressing the Supply and Quality of Engineering Graduates for the 21st Century. Epping, New South Wales: Australian Council of Engineering Deans. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from
  22. Lail, B., Dragga, S., Williams, J., Small, N., Roof, D., & Lail, S. (2013). User-Centred Engineering Ethics Curriculam. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 32(2), 59–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lamb, A., Roberts, E., Kentish, J., & Bennett, C. (2007). Students as Active Global Citizens. Zeitschrift fur internationale Bildungsforschung und Entwicklungspadagogik, 30(1), 17–19.Google Scholar
  24. Litchfield, K., Javernick-Wil, A., & Maul, A. (2016). Technical and Professional Skills of Engineers Involved and Not Involved in Engineering Service. Journal of Engineering Education, 105(1), 70–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morkos. (2014). A Comparative Survey of Domestic and International Experiences in Capstone Design. Clemson: Clemson Engineering Design Applications and Research (CEDAR), Clemson University Tiger Prints.Google Scholar
  26. National Academy of Engineering. (2004). The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  27. National Research Council. (1999). Engineering Education Tasks for the new Century: Japanese and US Perspectives. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  28. Passow, H. J. (2012). Which ABET Competencies Do Engineering Graduates Find Most Important in Their Work? Journal of Engineering Education, 101(1), 95–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pawley, A. L. (2012). What Counts as ‘Engineering’: Towards a Redefinition. In C. Baillie, A. L. Pawley, & D. Riley (Eds.), Engineering and Social Justice in the University and Beyond. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Ragusa, G. (2014). Engineering Global Preparedness: Parallel Pedagogies, Experientially Focused Instructional Practices. International Journal of Engineering Education, 30(2), 400–411.Google Scholar
  31. Report, H. (2006). Educating Engineers for the 21st Century, the Industry View. London: Henley Management College.Google Scholar
  32. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing Education Policy. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Sheppard, K., Dominick, P., & Aronson, Z. (2004). Preparing Engineering Students for the New Business Paradigm of International Teamwork and Global Orientation. International Journal of Engineering Education, 20(3), 475–483.Google Scholar
  34. Silbey, S. (2015). The Elephant in the Room: Constraints and Consequences of a Four-Year Undergraduate Engineering Degree. Journal of Engineering Studies, 7(2–3), 164–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Spinks, N., Silburn, N., & Birchall, D. (2006). Educating Engineers for the 21st Century: The Industry View. Henley-On-Thames: Henley Management College.Google Scholar
  36. Sterling, S. (2001). Sustainable Education. Dartington: Green Books.Google Scholar
  37. Trimingham, R. (2014). Teaching and Assessment Methods. In Integrating GDE into the Academia, GDEE (Eds.), Global Dimension in Engineering Education, Barcelona. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from
  38. Trimingham, R., Lazzarini, B., Perez-Foguet, A., Noble, N., Boni, A., Sieera-Castaner, M., Mongera, F., & Zolezzi, G. (2016). Integrating the Global Dimension in Engineering Education: Experiences from a Collaborative Project. In W. Leal Filho & P. Pace (Eds.), Teaching Education for Sustainable Development at University Level, World Sustainability Series (pp. 175–190). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Vitto, C. (2008). Cross Cultural ‘Soft Skills’ and the Global Engineer: Corporate ‘Best Practices’ and Trainer Methodologies. Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, 3(1), 1–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Bourn
    • 1
  1. 1.Development Education Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations