Search results

1 – 6 of 6
Article
Publication date: 13 September 2013

Edmond P. Byrne, Cheryl J. Desha, John J. Fitzpatrick and Karlson “Charlie” Hargroves

This paper aims to present key findings from an inquiry into engineering accreditation and curricula renewal. The research attempted to ascertain conceptions of requisite…

1167

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present key findings from an inquiry into engineering accreditation and curricula renewal. The research attempted to ascertain conceptions of requisite sustainability themes among engineering academics and professionals. The paper also reflects on the potential role of professional engineering institutions (PEIs) in embedding sustainability through their programme accreditation guidelines and wider implications in terms of rapid curricula renewal.

Design/methodology/approach

This research comprised an International Engineering Academic Workshop held during the 2010 International Symposium on Engineering Education in Ireland, on “accreditation and sustainable engineering”. This built on the findings of a literature review that was distributed prior to the workshop. Data collection included individual questionnaires administered during the workshop, and notes scribed by workshop participants.

Findings

The literature review highlighted a wide range of perspectives across and within engineering disciplines, regarding what sustainability/sustainable development (SD) themes should be incorporated into engineering curricula, and regarding language and terminology. This was also reflected in the workshop discussions. Notwithstanding this diversity, clusters of sustainability themes and priority considerations were distilled from the literature review and workshop. These related to resources, technology, values, ethics, inter‐ and intra‐generational equity, transdisciplinarity, and systems and complex thinking. Themes related to environmental and economic knowledge and skills received less attention by workshop participants than represented in the literature.

Originality/value

This paper provides an appreciation of the diversity of opinion regarding priority sustainability themes for engineering curricula, among a group of self‐selected engineering academics who have a common interest in education for SD. It also provides some insights and caveats on how these themes might be rapidly integrated into engineering curricula.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 April 2009

Cheryl J. Desha, Karlson Hargroves and Michael H. Smith

The purpose of this paper is to present the case for engineering departments to undertake rapid curriculum renewal (RCR) towards engineering education for sustainable…

1733

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the case for engineering departments to undertake rapid curriculum renewal (RCR) towards engineering education for sustainable development (EESD), to minimise the department's risk exposure to rapidly shifting industry requirements, government regulations and program accreditation. This paper then outlines a number of elements of RCR.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper begins by proposing that Higher Education Institutions face a “time lag dilemma,” whereby the usual or “standard” curriculum renewal approach to embed new knowledge and skills within the curriculum may take too long, lagging behind industry, regulatory, and accreditation shifts. This paper then outlines a proposed RCR approach. This paper presents a number of preliminary “elements of RCR” formulated from a literature review of numerous existing but largely ad hoc examples of curriculum renewal within engineering and other discipline areas, together with the authors' experience in trialling the elements.

Findings

This paper concludes that a strategically implemented process of curriculum renewal to EESD can help a department address its risk exposure to likely and impending shifts in industry, regulations and accreditation. A number of examples of implementing “elements of RCR” are emerging and this literature can inform a strategic approach to curriculum renewal.

Practical implications

The aim of this paper is to highlight the potential risks and opportunities for engineering departments as they consider “how far” and “how fast” to proceed with curriculum renewal for EESD, along with providing an overview of a range of options for implementation.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils an identified information/resources need.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 July 2021

Cheryl Desha, Savindi Caldera and Deanna Hutchinson

This study aims to explore the role of planned, sudden shifts in lived experiences, in influencing learner capabilities towards improved problem-solving for sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the role of planned, sudden shifts in lived experiences, in influencing learner capabilities towards improved problem-solving for sustainable development outcomes. The authors responded to employers of engineering and built environment graduates observing limited “real-life” problem-solving skills, beyond using established formulae and methods, in spite of attempts over more than two decades, to train engineers and other built environment disciplines in areas such as whole system design and sustainable design.

Design/methodology/approach

A grounded theory approach was used to guide the analysis of data collected through ethnographic methods. The process involved reflecting on authors’ efforts to develop context appreciation within a course called “International Engineering Practice”, using two years of collected data (archived course information, including course profile; completed assessment; lecture and field visit evaluations; and focus groups). The study is built on the authors’ working knowledge of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Threshold Learning Theory, and the well-established role of “context appreciation” in complex problem-solving. After the first iteration of the course, the authors looked for additional theoretical support to help explain findings. The Cynefin framework was subsequently used to augment the authors’ appreciation of “context” – beyond physical context to include relational context, and to evaluate students’ competency development across the four domains of “clear”, “complicated”, “complex” and “chaotic”.

Findings

This study helped the authors to understand that there was increased capacity of the students to distinguish between three important contexts for problem-solving, including an increased awareness about the importance of factual and relevant information, increased acknowledgement of the varying roles of professional practitioners in problem-solving depending on the type of problem and increased appreciation of the importance of interdisciplinary teams in tackling complex and complicated problems. There were several opportunities for such courses to be more effective in preparing students for dealing with “chaotic” situations that are prevalent in addressing the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (UNSDGs). Drawing on the course-based learnings, the authors present a “context integration model” for developing problem-solving knowledge and skills.

Research limitations/implications

The research findings are important because context appreciation – including both physical context and relational context – is critical to problem-solving for the UNSDGs, including its 169 targets and 232 indicators. The research findings highlight the opportunity for the Cynefin framework to inform holistic curriculum renewal processes, enhancing an educator’s ability to design, implement and evaluate coursework that develops physical and relational context appreciation.

Practical implications

The study’s findings and context integration model can help educators develop the full range of necessary problem-solving graduate competencies, including for chaotic situations involving high degrees of uncertainty. Looking ahead, acknowledging the significant carbon footprint of global travel, the authors are interested in applying the model to a domestic and/or online format of the same course, to attempt similar learning outcomes.

Originality/value

Connecting Bloom’s taxonomy deep learning and threshold learning theory critical path learning insights with the Cynefin framework context domains, provides a novel model to evaluate competency development for problem-solving towards improved holistic physical and relational “context appreciation” outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 November 2016

Kimberley Wilson and Cheryl Desha

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary storytelling in preserving built heritage, as a mechanism for extending the useful life of buildings.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary storytelling in preserving built heritage, as a mechanism for extending the useful life of buildings.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a qualitative action research approach to consider the role of storytelling. A creative, multi-method approach (i.e. a “Brisbane Art Deco” publication and associated marketing campaign) was used as a case study to explore the contours of such an approach and its efficacy in engaging the community.

Findings

This paper highlights the potential of contemporary approaches to heritage storytelling, including utilising digital technologies, to engage a diverse range of people that may not have otherwise participated. The authors propose the value of taking a creative and whole-of-society approach – such as that used in this case study – to heritage storytelling.

Research limitations/implications

The case study discussed provides a phenomenological insight into one version of “contemporary heritage storytelling”. The findings have immediate implications for prioritising research into storytelling for the preservation of built heritage.

Practical implications

The case study demonstrates opportunities for community engagement through storytelling and highlights potential strategies to effectively contribute to a greater societal value of cultural heritage.

Originality/value

This research contributes to theory and practice around the management of cultural heritage, and highlights the usefulness of employing such a strategy to reach and engage a broader audience.

Details

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-1266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Angela Chenoweth Reeve, Cheryl Desha, Doug Hargreaves and Karlson Hargroves

The purpose of this paper is to consider how biophilic urbanism complements and potentially enhances approaches for the built environment profession to holistically…

1064

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider how biophilic urbanism complements and potentially enhances approaches for the built environment profession to holistically integrate nature into cities. Urban nature – also referred to as urban greening and green infrastructure – has increasingly been considered from many perspectives to address challenges such as population pressures, climate change and resource shortages. Within this context, the authors highlight how “biophilic urbanism” complements and may enhance approaches and efforts for urban greening.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a review of existing literature in “urban nature” to clarify and discuss the concept of biophilic urbanism. Drawing on this literature review, the authors present a systematic clustering and scaling of “biophilic elements” that could facilitate responding to twenty-first century challenges.

Findings

Biophilic urbanism can be applied at multiple scales in urban environments, through a range of multi-functional features that address the pervasive false dichotomy of urban development and environmental protection. Biophilic urbanism can complement urban greening efforts to enable a holistic approach, which is conducive to comprehensive, intentional and strategic urban greening.

Originality/value

This paper situates the emerging concept of biophilic urbanism within existing research from multiple disciplines, providing insight for how this can be applied in practice, particularly to the topical challenge of “urban renewal”.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 23 May 2019

Lluís Pacheco, Luo Ningsu, Toni Pujol, Jose Ramon Gonzalez and Inès Ferrer

This paper aims to report on a case study concerning the development of sustainable energy partnerships involving engineering faculty and undergraduate students at the…

1450

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on a case study concerning the development of sustainable energy partnerships involving engineering faculty and undergraduate students at the University of Girona, Catalonia, Spain.

Design/methodology/approach

Faculty were motivated to seek partnerships with public and private entities in the local area for the purposes of realising mutually beneficial outcomes. The educational programmes of future engineers, when sustainability is considered, are analysed. Education for sustainable development has to include multidisciplinary active learning as a desirable competence. Active learning can be obtained when problems are based on real life because they are most motivating for students. Constructive alignment component is obtained because learning objectives are linked with learning activities related to the needs of public and private entities.

Findings

Through the provision of technical expertise, the adoption and success of renewable energy projects was facilitated on the one hand, while final year undergraduate students benefited in terms of hands-on experience in helping to bring these projects to life, drawing on the knowledge and skills they had acquired throughout their degree programmes. These works are addressed to students by faculty members with the aim of developing and promoting renewable energies. Outcomes from partnerships surpassed expectations; not only were different benefits realised as were initially hoped for, but this success led to partnerships being sustained over time.

Originality/value

Fossil fuel-based energy systems are associated with a myriad of negative environmental and social externalities. It is difficult to overstate the importance of transitioning towards alternative low carbon energy sources for climate change mitigation which are less centralised compared to the status-quo for energy security and energy independence. By actively facilitating the development of decentralised renewable energy sources in Catalonia, the projects reported herein are of significant value in social environmental and educational terms.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

1 – 6 of 6