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Growing an Exchange Program
May 31, 2012
|Linda Andersson (l-r), Dr. Luchen Li, Dr. David
Dr. Luchen Li of Rose-Hulman's Office of Global Programs once
invited the king of Sweden to Flint Michigan to see an innovative
implementation of Swedish technology - and the king accepted. While
that's a hard act to follow, Dr. Li was making connections once
again as he brought two representatives of the Swedish Royal
Institute of Technology (KTH) to Rose-Hulman on May 30 to meet
Rose-Hulman faculty and discuss possibilities for student exchanges
between schools. By day's end, the Global Programs Associate Dean
had a firm commitment from the KTH reps, Linda Andersson and Helena
Legnell, that KTH would receive Rose-Hulman exchange students.
For Rose-Hulman juniors and seniors, the transition into KTH
classes shouldn't be too traumatic - at KTH all upper level classes
are taught in English. As Andersson presented a PowerPoint
tour of her school's academic programs to Rose-Hulman faculty from
Physics, Chemistry, Engineering Management, Chemical Engineering,
and Electrical and Computer Engineering, she pointed out that
nearly a quarter of KTH's student population of almost 14,000 are
students visiting from other countries. KTH also offers many dual
degrees in conjunction with schools of other countries.
As a University, KTH is divided into "nine decentralized
schools," which means, according to Andersson, "you don't get the
interdisciplinary aspect" that students experience at Rose-Hulman.
On the plus side, Andersson mentioned, turning to Dr. Throne of the
ECE department, the School of Communications and Information
Technology is located in "Kista, the Silicon Valley of Sweden -
Ericsson is located there." She added that the KTH School of
Computer Science and the School of Chemical Science and Engineering
are "very keen on developing a relationship with Rose-Hulman."
On this trip to the United States, the KTH team will have
visited schools in Houston, Champaign-Urbana and Chicago, along
with Rose-Hulman. Swedish Schools like KTH are aggressively seeking
international exchanges because of the high demand among European
employers for students who've had foreign study.
"To have an experience outside of Sweden is very valued in
Sweden - some companies won't hire you if you don't have outside
experience," Andersson said. For that reason, she explained, KTH
tries to be very liberal when they look at how a course from
another country might fit the student's academic requirements.
When Dr. Craig Downing enquired about the Engineering Management
School, one of KTH's most competitive schools, Andersson said that
as many as 85 percent of these students go abroad. Singularly
focused on gaining competitive edge in the job market, these
students, said Andersson, are "very calculating." The other top
competitive school, the School of Engineering Physics, piqued the
interest of Rose-Hulman professor of Physics and Optical
Engineering Dr. Michael McInerney. "We are just starting
engineering physics. Collaboration might be useful," stated
McInerney. He posited possible student research projects born
of collaboration between professors from each
|Helena Lengell, center, with (l-r) Dr. Throne, Dr. Craig
Dr. Michael Mueller.
Andersson praised Rose-Hulman for having Humanities in the
curriculum, remarking that the option of an Economics degree caught
her attention. KTH doesn't offer Humanities. "It's a problem,"
Andersson said. "If you want to educate leaders, you need the soft
After some hard facts about how many "contact hours" a KTH
course involves or how a 7-week course might fit into a 10-week
quarter, Andersson and Lengell offered a lot of "soft" information
about Swedish culture, starting with the popularity of sustainable
practices in European culture. "It's big, sustainability," said
Andersson. "You drive a car and people are almost upset with
Swedish summer is about 22 hours of daylight and three
hours of "dark dusk," according to Andersson. During the winter,
you can ice skate in about two hours from KTH to Uppsala (where
Rose-Hulman has another successful exchange program). But it is
always dark, and Andersson admitted she found it a bit depressing.
She scoffed at the popular Swedish bromide that the dark is "cozy.
We can light candles."
"That's what they tell us," Lengell quipped.
"We can light candles any time," Andersson added.
The KTH visitors' itinerary also included a tour of Rose-Hulman,
lunch at Logan's and a requested tour stop from their bucket list
of yet-to-be-seen Americana: Walmart.