In Rhode Island, an Unusual Marriage of Engineering and Languages Lures Students

An Unusual Marriage of Engineering and Languages Draws Students in Rhode Island 1

Qilai Shen for the Chronicle

Jimmy Li, a student in the U. of Rhode Island's International Engineering Program, is putting his mechanical engineering and Mandarin skills to use interning at an auto-parts maker near Shanghai.

The University of Rhode Island colleagues each had a problem.

Hermann Viets, then dean of engineering, felt strongly that his students needed international experience to be competitive in a globalizing job market—and, like many engineering majors, they weren't getting it. His fellow administrator and next-door neighbor, John M. Grandin, associate dean of arts and sciences at the time, saw the writing on the wall with declining numbers in his German language and literature