Volume 4 No.1, Winter 2000
Jackson Electrical & Electronic Engineering Dept
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Dept
This paper describes the efforts undertaken by the University of Science
& Technology, Kumasi, Ghana to develop multi-faceted international
partnerships with The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, USA and the
University of Applied Sciences, Lübeck, Germany. The collaborative activities
span faculty and student exchanges, team-based engineering design projects,
development of common curriculum modules, and collaboration with industrial
partners with Germany and Ghana. Developmental stages of these partnership
activities are described. The obstacles encountered by the partner
institutions in carrying out the collaborative activities are also listed in
With the globalization of the economy, it is becoming
increasingly important for engineering and engineering technology graduates to
have international and cultural opportunities and experiences as a part of
their undergraduate curricula. These graduates must be prepared to work in
multicultural teams in multinational corporations. Some of the academic
preparation they need will come from international collaborative experiences
that develop abilities and familiarity with information technology, team work,
and engineering design methodologies in a global environment. This paper
describes the efforts undertaken by the University of Science & Technology
(US), Kumasi, Ghana, to create an early educational awareness of the global
implications of engineering education through international collaborations
with other educational institutions in the world. These partnerships embrace
use of international collaborative student teams and projects, development of
common curriculum modules, collaboration with industrial partners in various
countries, and joint faculty research projects.
The University of Science and Technology (UST), located
in Kumasi, Ghana, focuses on teaching and research in engineering,
architecture, pharmacy, and medicine. The School of Engineering in the
University of Science & Technology comprises the Departments of
Agricultural, Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Electronic, Mechanical, and
Geodetic Engineering. These departments provide four-year degree programs
leading to the award of the B.Sc. (Eng.) Diploma programs in Civil,
Mechanical, and Geodetic Engineering are also provided. These diploma courses
are equivalent to the British Higher National Diploma (HND). Programs leading
to M.Sc., M. Phil and Ph.D. degrees are also provided in the various
The University of Science and Technology also houses the
Institute of Mining and Mineral Engineering which offers degree and diploma
courses in Mining & Mineral, as well as, Geological Engineering. The
Institute, established in October 1976, replaced the Department of Mining and
Mineral Engineering of the School of Engineering and is an autonomous
The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering presently offers the following programs:
a) a four-year B.Sc. Degree program
b) a two-year M.Sc. program
c) an M.Phil research program
The undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering can specialize in one of the three main areas listed below by a careful choice of electives:
a) Power System and Machines
b) Electronics and Communications
c) Computers and Control
THE UST-LUBECK UNIVERSITY COLLABORATION
In 1999, the University of Science and Technology initiated a partnership with the University of Applied Sciences (UAS), Lübeck, Germany. The objectives of this collaboration are as follows:
Exchange faculty and students in carefully structured and controlled programs.
Engage in joint faculty research projects
Engage in joint student projects between UST students and Lübeck students with joint faculty supervision
Organize training workshops in various topical areas to provide rapid skill acquisition, capacity building and technological transfer as continuing professional development, primarily for engineers and technicians in industry.
At present, UST Kumasi and UAS Lübeck are in the process
of developing exchange programs for students and university faculty. The
effort to restructure curricula and teaching materials has also started. The
topical areas for these instructional materials include energy systems, energy
management, power electronics, telecommunications, and industrial energy
The faculty and students of UST Kumasi and UAS Lübeck will collaboratively conduct a number of technical projects. These projects have been chosen as a result of extensive discussions with the representatives of a number of industrial organizations in Ghana. The projects include:
It is expected that the above-mentioned technical projects, when completed, will provide solutions for a wide range of technical problems experienced by Ghanian industrial organizations.
THE UST-PENN STATE ALTOONA COLLABORATION
the University of Science and Technology initiated a partnership with the
Altoona College of The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State Altoona),
Penn State Altoona is one
of 24 campuses making up the Pennsylvania State University system. It is the
second largest of the 24 campuses and is a full service residential campus
located 42 miles from the research campus at University Park.
Penn State Altoona became a four-year college within the
Pennsylvania State University system in 1997 and offers baccalaureate degrees
in four majors (Bachelor of Science in Business, Bachelor of Science in
Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology; and
a Bachelor of Arts in Letters, Arts & Science). Penn State Altoona
provides the first two years of course work for 182 Penn State undergraduate
The objectives of this collaboration are as follows:
The collaboration involves
the following developmental stages:
1. Familiarization with Institution
This is a time period to exchange administrators, faculty, and key individuals associated with the anticipated development of the exchange program. The purpose of the exchange is to become familiar with the partner institution, its goals and mission, institutional facilities, and level of commitment to the international partnership. The first friendships are also established.
2. Identification of Common Interests
This is a period of more in-depth exchanges with specific focus on instruction and/or research activities where commonality exits and an interested faculty has been identified. Additional familiarization activities may take place simultaneously.
3. Development of Cooperative Projects & Activities
This is a period during which previously identified projects and activities are conducted and evaluated. Additional activities may be identified as a result, or, conversely, activities may be modified or cancelled.
4. Instruction of Common Courses
This is a period involving the instruction or exchange of selected courses, modules of courses, or common classroom sessions, seminars or workshops.
This is a period during which successful projects and activities are institutionalized within the home institution. The goal of which is the sustainability of these projects and activities.
6. Cooperative or Common Degree Programs
This is a culmination period resulting in the development of common curricula and degree programs. In the most developed state this could result in a common or dual degree for the participating students.
The UST-Penn State Altoona collaboration is presently at stage number three.
IV. UST-PENN STATE COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITIES: PRESENT AND FUTURE
The Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UST Kumasi visited Penn State Altoona in July 1999. A faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering Technology at Penn State Altoona visited UST in August 1999. The purpose of faculty exchanges was to become familiar with the partner institution, its goal and mission, institutional facilities, and level of commitment to the international partnership. During the above mentioned faculty exchanges, the following common interests were identified and it was decided that activities related to these interests should be conducted by UST Kumasi and Penn State Altoona. The common interests are (i) development of common course modules; (ii) common engineering design projects to be conducted by engineering student teams at UST Kumasi and Penn State Altoona; (iii) student exchange; and (iv) joint publications in refereed journals.
During the Fall 1999 semester, a practical engineering design project to be conducted at UST Kumasi and Penn State Altoona was identified by the participating engineering faculty at both institutions. The design specifications of the project were as follows:
A simple soft drink vending machine is to be designed in
conformance with the following specifications:
dispenses only two types of drink, cola and diet cola.
The machine accepts only quarters and dimes
The machine is
equipped with an unlimited number of nickels.
The cost of each drink is $0.35
The machine is
to display the current input value.
A reject button is to be present.
During the Spring 2000 semester, student teams, each consisting of two students were formed at Penn State Altoona. These students are currently enrolled in a programmable logic controllers (PLCs) course. The students are making use of Allen Bradley PLCs to implement the soft-drink vending machine controller. The student design teams at Penn State Altoona will complete the project by the end of Spring 2000 semester. Student design teams, each consisting of two students were formed at UST Kumasi in the beginning of Spring 2000 semester. The students are currently enrolled in an undergraduate microprocessors course offered by the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at UST Kumasi. The UST Kumasi student teams are making use of Motorola 68000 microprocessor to implement the vending machine controller. They will complete the project by the end of Spring 2000 semester.
Before the student teams at Penn State Altoona and UST
Kumasi started working on the projects, they were provided training in team
development skills. The training materials were based on the content presented
in  - . Once the projects are completed by Ghanian and American student
teams, an evaluation of team performance will be done for each team involved
in the project. A comparison of techniques used to conduct the project by
Ghanian and American students will be conducted by the participating UST and
Penn State Altoona faculty members.
Groundwork for student exchange between Penn State
Altoona and UST has been in progress since the Fall 1999 semester. Penn State
Altoona Placement Office is working with regional industrial organizations to
identify paid internship opportunities for Ghanian students. The UST
Department of Electrical and Electronic engineering is working with Ghanian
companies to identify paid internship opportunities for American students.
Selected engineering faculty members at Penn State Altoona and UST are working together to develop common course modules on topics such as microprocessors and electrical machines. The common course modules will be used in the microprocessors and electrical machines courses taught at UST and Penn State Altoona. The courses which will utilize the common course modules related to microprocessors and electrical machines are taught during the junior year of the Bachelor of Science in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (BSEMET) program at Penn State Altoona. Similar courses are taught during the junior year of the 4-year B.Sc degree program in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the UST Kumasi The course descriptions for the Penn State Altoona courses utilizing the above mentioned common course modules are as follows:
Additional course modules will be developed in other areas of electrical engineering/electrical engineering technology. The course modules will be integrated into the undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum at UST and the EET curriculum at Penn State Altoona. The engineering laboratories at both institutions house all the equipment necessary to support common course modules in many areas. The integration of common course modules into the EE and EET curricula at both institutions will make it possible for exchange students to get academic credit for a course at one institution while studying at the other one.
UST-PSU ALTOONA COLLABORATION OBSTACLES
UST-PENN STATE ALTOONA COLLABORATION: ASSESSMENT
A plan for the formal assessment of the Penn State Altoona-UST Kumasi partnership will be developed in the future. The assessment plan will have the following components:
An assessment of the effectiveness of common student
team projects at both institutions.
An assessment of the short-term internships completed
by the American students in Ghana and the Ghanian students in USA.
An assessment of the other aspects of UST-Penn State Altoona partnership in addition to the ones listed above.
The paper described the efforts undertaken by the University of Science & Technology (UST), Kumasi, Ghana to develop international partnerships with The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, USA and the University of Applied Sciences (UAS), Lübeck, Germany. The collaborative activities span team-based design projects, development of common curriculum modules, and collaboration with industrial partners in Ghana and Germany. The obstacles which still need to be overcome are described. It is expected that despite these obstacles, the international partnership will continue to grow and more collaborative activities will be developed in the future.
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