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Roadmapping towards sustainability proficiency in engineering education

Alejandro Rodriguez-Andara (Foresight, Technology and Management (FTM) Group, Department of Industrial Organization and Management Engineering, University College of Engineering of Vitoria-Gasteiz, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain)
Rosa María Río-Belver (Foresight, Technology and Management (FTM) Group, Department of Industrial Organization and Management Engineering, University College of Engineering of Vitoria-Gasteiz, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain)
Marisela Rodríguez-Salvador (School of Engineering and Sciences, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)
René Lezama-Nicolás (School of Engineering and Sciences, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 9 January 2018

Issue publication date: 18 January 2018

807

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to deliver a roadmap that displays pathways to develop sustainability skills in the engineering curricula.

Design/methodology/approach

The selected approach to enrich engineering students with sustainability skills was active learning methodologies. First, a survey was carried out on a sample of 189 students to test the current sustainability literacy and determine the roadmap starting point. Next, a scientometric study regarding active learning methodologies was executed. A total of 2,885 articles and conference proceedings from the period 2013-2016 were retrieved from the Web of Science database. The records were then imported into text mining software to undergo a term clumping process. Annual knowledge clusters based on key terms were outputted. Finally, a roadmap was created by experts based on the annual knowledge clusters.

Findings

Four annual pathways were created along the roadmap to develop sustainability skills during the four-year college course in engineering. The first consisted on promoting a recycling campaign through a circular economy. The second aimed at creating educational videos regarding sustainability. The third reinforced reasoning and argumentative skills by preparing a debate on environmental issues. The last path assumed that the student is working in internship programs and prepared him/her to apply environmental management models to solve sustainability issues within the company.

Research limitations/implications

Roadmaps should be updated approximately every two years to reflect novelty. The proposed methodology shows an easy way to create them.

Practical implications

Results from this paper, as well as the proposed methodology, can be applied to any organization forming individuals: from primary school education to employee training programs in organizations.

Social implications

The development of sustainability skills has a direct, positive impact on professional decision-making and, ultimately, on the environment.

Originality/value

This paper presents a roadmapping process to develop sustainability competences throughout engineering college education.

Keywords

Citation

Rodriguez-Andara, A., Río-Belver, R.M., Rodríguez-Salvador, M. and Lezama-Nicolás, R. (2018), "Roadmapping towards sustainability proficiency in engineering education", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 413-438. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2017-0079

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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