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Developing and applying green building technology in an indigenous community: An engaged approach to sustainability education

David R. Riley (Department of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Corinne E. Thatcher (American Indian Housing Initiative, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Elizabeth A. Workman (American Indian Housing Initiative, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 1 April 2006

7368

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to disseminate an innovative approach to sustainability education in construction‐related fields in which teaching, research, and service are integrated to provide a unique learning experience for undergraduate students, faculty members, and community partners.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper identifies the need for sustainability education in fields related to construction and describes an interdisciplinary course at Penn State that addresses this need. The goals, research, and applications of the course are detailed, as is the sustainable construction technology employed in course projects. Finally, the results from two course assessments are summarized to support the authors' hypothesis that knowledge best occurs and develops in an arena of negotiation, collaboration, and creation.

Findings

Students who participate in the course experience well‐rounded growth that includes, but is not limited to, increased research, design, communication, and collaboration skills, a finding that underscores the effectiveness of the course's holistic approach to engineering and architecture education.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates that engaged approaches to architecture and engineering education contribute to a heightened awareness among students of the importance of sustainability. It encourages other educators to adopt similar approaches to sustainability education in their courses.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the need for sustainability education in construction‐related disciplines by detailing an innovative course developed at Penn State to raise environmental and social awareness among architecture and engineering students. The engaged approach utilized in the course is replicable in any discipline and promises to have a significant impact on the commitment of today's students to creating a tomorrow in which sustainability is the norm rather than an anomaly.

Keywords

Citation

Riley, D.R., Thatcher, C.E. and Workman, E.A. (2006), "Developing and applying green building technology in an indigenous community: An engaged approach to sustainability education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 142-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676370610655922

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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