International Service Learning Design Projects: Educating Tomorrow's Engineers, Serving the Global Community, and Helping to Meet ABET Criterion

Dan Budny, Robert Thomas Gradoville


International service-learning projects are an effective educational tool for universities striving to meet the ABET engineering criterion, while also providing transformational experiences to their students and a service to needy populations in the world.  This paper discusses the benefits of international service-learning projects for students, the international community, and the university.  The year-long process of development and piloting of the first international humanitarian engineering service-learning project within the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh is presented.  Also, the ABET engineering criterion are then discussed, with specific attention to the criterion that are harder to address with traditional engineering education.  This pilot project was a collaboration between the senior design course, a local chapter of Engineers Without Borders, and various domestic and international entities.  The benefits of international service learning projects are discussed, in the hopes of catalyzing development of similar projects in the future.


Cross-cultural understanding, Service Learning, Senior Design, Engineering Education

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