Sigrid Berka

  • Professor of German; Executive Director, International Engineering Program
  • Phone: 401.874.4700
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Texas Instruments (TI) House 114

Sigrid Berka, Curriculum Vitae


Sigrid Berka is the Executive Director of the International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island, Professor of German and also the Director of the German IEP and the Chinese IEP. Dr. Berka is responsible for building academic programs with exchange partners abroad, internship placements for IEP’s dual degree students, corporate relations, and fundraising for the IEP. Bi-annually the IEP organizes the Colloquium on International Engineering Education.

Under Dr. Berka’s leadership, the IEP received NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Spotlight award for innovative campus internationalization (2011), and the Andrew Heiskell Award for study abroad (2012) by the Institute for International Education. She serves on the Provost’s Global Education Steering Committee. In her previous appointment as Managing Director of the MIT Germany program, she developed innovative collaborations between MIT students, faculty and German companies and research institutes as part of the MIT International Science & Technology Initiatives (MISTI).

From 2007-2009, she served as MIT Delegate for the Global Excellence Initiative (GEI-GEIP), a consortium of the best engineering schools world-wide with the mission to educate the global engineer, sponsored by Continental AG; Berka was educated at RWTH Aachen, Washington University, St. Louis and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and previously taught German Studies at Barnard College in New York.


As Assistant Professor of German Studies Sigrid taught 19th- and 20th-century literature and culture courses at Barnard College and Columbia University (1990-1996). Her book Mythos-Theorie und Allegorik bei Botho Strauss came out in 1991. She also co-authored an intermediate textbook for German language, Spiralen, and has written many articles on German and Austrian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. As Professor of German and Executive Director of the International Engineering Program at the University of Rhode Island (since 2010), her publications shifted to the field of international engineering education, the added value and impact of dual-degree programs on engineering and the languages, assessment of short-term and long-term study abroad programs, and the reform of the US higher education system. She has published in journals such as ADFL, ASEE conference proceedings, the Online Journal of Global Engineering Education (OJGEE), the ASEE International Forum Proceedings among others. She is also co-editor of the Journal on International Engineering Education (JIEE).


  • Ph.D. in German Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1990
  • Staatsexamen in German Literature, Philosophy, and Education from RWTH Aachen, 1986

Selected Publications

Berka, S., Graney, A., “Building Community through Dual Degree Language Housing,” invited chapter in a volume on Language Housing edited by Jennifer Bown and Dan Dewey (BYU). Forthcoming in International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT), Spring 2019.

Papa, E., Berka S., “The Roadmap to Mainstreaming Dual Language Immersion in Rhode Island.” AAUSC volume 2016, The Interconnected Language Curriculum: Critical Transitions and Interfaces in Articulated K-16 Contexts, ed. by Johanna Watzinger-Tharp, University of Utah and Per Urlaub, University of Austin, Texas. ISBN-13: 9781337276450

Berka, S., Serman, E. A., Echevarria, M. M., Erickson, L. O., Scholz, S. A., Geithner, A. (2015, June), Integrating a portfolio of short with long-term international programs in the engineering curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington.

Grandin, J., Berka, S. “Reforming American Higher Education: The University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program,” ADFL Bulletin vol. 43, no. 1, (2014): pp. 23-44.

Berka, S., v. Reinhart, W. (2014) “Integrating Study, Research and Internships abroad for a year-long International Engineering Program,” in Proceedings of the 2014 ASEE Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN, June 15-18. 

Grandin, J., Berka, S. “The University of Rhode Island International Engineering Program: Merging Technology with the Humanities,” The Russian Language Journal vol. 64 (2014): pp. 25-51.

Berka, S. “Retaining Engineering Students through a January Term German Immersion Study Tour,” Global Business Languages, vol. 16, article 7, (2011).

Berka, S. “The University of Rhode Island Dual Graduate Degree Program with the Technical University of Braunschweig – Its Added Value, Synergies and Gains for Engineering Students,” Online Journal for Global Engineering Education (OJGEE), vol. 6. iss. 1, article 5, (2011).