Heiskell Award Winner University of Rhode Island

2012 Heiskell Award Winner: Study Abroad

University of Rhode Island

International Engineering Program (IEP)

Nomination submitted by: Sigrid Berka, Executive Director, International Engineering

Program Overview
The University of Rhode Island's groundbreaking International Engineering Program (IEP) serves as a model for engineering and language educators across the entire country. The concept is simple: it is a five-year dual degree bachelor's program through which students simultaneously earn a BS in an engineering discipline and a BA in a foreign language. In their fourth year, students study language, culture, and engineering courses in the target language at top engineering partner schools in Germany, France, Spain, and China. The second semester is spent interning for six month in a partner company abroad.

The IEP currently has a student enrollment of about 287 students total across the German, Spanish, French, and Chinese IEP. It also has a great track record of attracting women into engineering (about 30 percent of the IEP students are female as opposed to only 17 percent in the College of Engineering). Moreover, it features a high percentage of university-wide scholarship holders.

In times where language programs are being cut at schools and colleges across the country, the IEP serves as a powerful model for increasing foreign language enrollment. Students see a purpose, applicability, and clear career impact of their language studies. For example, ninety percent of the German language majors at URI are engineering students—proof of the impact the IEP has had on foreign language enrollment and a powerful testimony that the IEP is the main driver of internationalizing the campus. Pairing language and cultural studies with another academic program gives students opportunities at global companies with offices in the U.S. and around the world through the five-year dual degree IEP program.

Program Implementation
Read the winning nomination, including details on how the program achieves its objectives

2017 Awards Presentation

IIE will present the annual IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Best Practices in Internationalization at a ceremony in Miami, Florida on March 14, 2017, as part of the Annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference.

Selection Panel Members 2012

The members of the selection panel for this year’s awards include the following leaders in international education:

Arlene Jackson
Director of International Education, American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU)

Cathey Maze
Dean, Academic & Student Services, Oakland Community College

Donna Scarboro
Associate Provost, International Programs, The George Washington University

Anne Waters
Associate Vice Provost for Global Programs, New York University

Brian Whalen
President and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad