By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Contributing Writer
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island’s International Engineering Program won the 2012 Heiskell Award for outstanding international initiatives from the Institute of International Education.
It was IEP’s study abroad program that won it this year’s Heiskell Award. “The University of Rhode Island’s groundbreaking International Engineering Program serves as a model for engineering and language educators across the entire country,” representatives of the IIE said in prepared remarks.
IEP offers students a five-year, dual-degree program during which they earn a bachelor’s of science degree in an engineering field and a bachelor’s of arts degree in a foreign language.
Students spend their fourth year internationally, studying the language and culture of Germany, France, Spain or China, as well as taking courses at some of the top engineering schools in those countries. Their final six months abroad are spent working with an engineering partner company.
There are currently about 290 students enrolled across the German, Spanish, French and Chinese IEP, roughly 30 percent of which are female.
“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,” added the IIE
Graduates of the IEP program work internationally for engineering giants including BMW, the Dow Chemical Co. and Johnson & Johnson.