Building Effective Partnership Networks In order to engage communities around the world, engineering educators must build networks with relevant community organizations. Many factors can compound building effective networks. Organizations have different philosophies about how engineers should undertake community engagement. These philosophies include convictions that engineers should develop low-cost products suitable for markets in marginalized communities, engineers should devise clever solutions to help people living in poverty meet basic needs, engineers must effectively respond to socio-cultural considerations when proposing solutions, and engineers should work to empower local artisans who have already begun seeking solutions to pressing problems.Additionally, university programs have to overcome many geographic and relational barriers in order to have effective community access. This paper will discuss different strategies to build effective partnership networks.This paper uses discourse analysis to examine the advertised partnerships of four predominant engineering education programs working in global communities. I selected four engineering education programs with different guiding philosophies with a theoretically grounded sampling frame. The sampling frame relies on well-being frameworks found in international development scholarship. I reviewed all publicly available documentation that detailed the development of partnerships to determine how discourse models influenced building partnership networks.Preliminary results indicate that relational proximity rather than philosophical alignment tends to influence creating partnerships. While the four selected engineering education programs have different guiding philosophies, they also have distinct relational connections that create different models for partnerships. Engineering education programs can focus on building partnerships with organizations local to the university, with organizations local to the target community, with organizations that have a large global footprint, and with individuals within the target community. The paper will discuss how these different partnership models can inform how an engineering education program could develop partnerships more strongly aligned with the program’s guiding philosophy.
2014, ASEE, partnership, networks, international
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