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Purdue GEARE Report: Assessing "Soft Skill" Development in Engineering Students

By Katherine Yngve1, Joseph M Tort1

Purdue University

In this assessment of a multi-year program designed to turn undergraduates into globally competent engineers, we investigate soft skill development, using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and senior year focus groups.

Listed in Reports/White Papers

Version 1.0 - published on 02 Dec 2019

Licensed under CC0 - Creative Commons


The Global Engineering Alliance for Research and Education or "GEARE" program, was designed to add foreign language proficiency, study abroad and an overseas internship to the traditional four-year undergraduate degree program, without lengthening it.  In this assessment, researchers used quantitative and qualitative means to explore the students' "ability to work effectively with people who define problems differently."  In particular, we were interested in how having asked each student to take a distance learning course while abroad, focusing on individual intercultural development and under the mentorship of an assigned intercultural expert on the home campus, helped them understand team effectiveness and other important engineering skills. Findings of the GEARE group are compared to a control group who studied abroad but did not receive mentoring, as well as to a comparison group who received multi-semester professional mentoring, but did not do a semester of study abroad.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Yngve, K., Tort, J. M. (2019). Purdue GEARE Report: Assessing "Soft Skill" Development in Engineering Students.

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