Differences In Cultural Expectation Between Faculty And Students In An International Collaboration

Yuko Hoshino, Wayne Sanders
2006 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
There have been various attempts in the field of engineering education for international teaching teams to work together. Some projects saw successes and others found difficulties. This paper discusses a case study in developing suitable engineering courses for Japanese students that are taught entirely in English by American engineering professors. A mixed teaching team has been formed between Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the US and Kanazawa Institute of Technology in Japan. It
more » ... ts of Japanese engineering professors, Japanese foreign language and culture professors, and American engineering professors. In order to meet students' needs and to fit into the Kanazawa Institute of Technology's curriculum, the teaching team decided to offer two courses -one engineering content course and one technical writing course. The former is primarily for graduate students and the latter mainly for undergraduate students. Both courses have received positive feedback from the participating students in the end-of-term evaluations. However, in the development process, several problems were identified. These problems are attributed to differences in thinking patterns, teaching approaches, communications styles, and cultural expectations among faculty and between faculty and students. According to Hofstede 1 , cultures are learned and shared by people in the same social and economic groups. It is understandable, therefore, that people from different backgrounds have different cultural ideas, behaviors, and expectations. These differences can lead to frustrations, conflicts, and culture clashes. The teaching team has found various degrees of such difficulties in communication and in actions, not only between American faculty and Japanese faculty, but also between Japanese engineering faculty and non-engineering faculty. It has taken time, mutual tolerance, willingness to understand, and open communication to resolve these difficulties. The authors hope that this knowledge and experience can help those who plan to engage in similar collaboration efforts.
doi:10.18260/1-2--1359 fatcat:epogsitu7jbtle2qy7ridz22ku