Clemson’s Randy Collins explores opportunities for engineering students to study abroad
CLEMSON — Engineering students around the world could find new opportunities to study and work abroad as part of an exchange program that serves more than 250 students from 24 countries each year and counts Randy Collins of Clemson University as one of its key leaders.
Collins is the new chairman of the executive committee that oversees the Global Engineering Education Exchange, or Global E3. The program has primarily served undergraduates since it was founded as part of the Institute of International Education, headquartered at United Nations Plaza in New York.
With Collins at the helm, the committee is looking for ways to expand the program.
“We’re currently working on what I’m calling Global E3 2.0,” Collins said. “We’ve had a fantastic 20-plus years. The consortium has had a significant impact on advancing international education for engineering students, specifically undergraduate students. That’s still a vibrant part of what we do, but now we’re asking, ‘What else can we do?’”
Students are continuing to express interest in international internships with companies or research laboratories, possibly coupled with an opportunity to study at a university nearby, said Collins, who is Clemson’s interim associate vice president for the Lowcountry.
Also on Collins’ watch, Global E3 is beginning to offer Ph.D. students a chance to study abroad through a program that was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the Institute for International Education, the program’s administrator. The funds help pay for short-term placements for Ph.D. students and provide seed money for their faculty advisers to travel.
“Global E3 is a natural place for that program; we’ve got international connections,” Collins said. “We’re trying to expand this program out to other areas.”
Global E3 is a consortium of 34 engineering institutions in the United States and 39 universities in Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.
It helps engineering students study abroad by eliminating many of the administrative hurdles. Students pay their home campus tuition and remain enrolled at their home institution. Host campuses help students find local housing.
The curricula at the consortium’s institutions are closely aligned, which helps keep students on track to graduation.
Collins said the program helps students build the skills they will need in a world where a growing number of companies work across borders, cultures and time zones.
“Being able to navigate that and be productive in those environments is extremely valuable,” he said. “Companies are hiring people who have the professional skills that enable them to work in a global world.”
Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, congratulated Collins on being selected as chairman.
“This is advancing the Clemson name internationally where it might not be known,” Jones said. “Clemson’s brand has expanded internationally over the last couple of decades, but now we’re known in a much deeper way.”
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said that Collins’ service as chairman will benefit students.
“Dr. Collins is well positioned to advise students and route them to the institutions that will best fit their needs,” Gramopadhye said. “His leadership will also present new opportunities for the college to recruit the best and brightest international students.”