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Considerations on educating engineers in sustainability

Carol Boyle (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 1 June 2004

Abstract

The teaching of sustainability to engineers will follow similar paths to that of environmental engineering. There is a strong feeling that environmental engineering is a discipline unto itself, requiring knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, hydrology, toxicology, modelling and law. However, environmental engineering can also be encompassed within other disciplines; for example, solar and wind power are often taught in electrical or mechanical engineering; pollution control is taught in chemical engineering; and recycling technologies are taught in both chemical and mechanical engineering. The understanding of sustainability engineering, however, requires a greater maturity than that of most engineering disciplines. Although the basics of this concept can be understood by anyone, the ability to understand the complex systems which exist within the environment and society as well as the constraints on those systems is only beginning to emerge at the fourth year or graduate level. Moreover, the elements necessary to achieve sustainability are derived from all aspects of engineering and, like environmental engineering, all engineering disciplines have strong roles to play in achieving sustainability. However, there is also a fundamental discourse that can be taught as a discipline in sustainability engineering. Discusses aspects of such a programme and outlines the requirements for educating engineers in sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Boyle, C. (2004), "Considerations on educating engineers in sustainability", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 147-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370410526233

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited