This paper aims to introduce a case-based module teaching sustainable engineering, linking the Envision rating system with behavioral decision science. Three complete modules are…
This paper aims to introduce a case-based module teaching sustainable engineering, linking the Envision rating system with behavioral decision science. Three complete modules are publicly available in a repository for any instructor to adapt, use and review.
A case study was written about the Tucannon River Wind Farm, a project-certified Gold by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision™ rating system. The case was used as the basis for an in-class PowerPoint module to achieve student learning outcomes related to sustainability.
Before and after surveys showed significant (p < 0.05) learning increases. Word clouds show changes in student perceptions of sustainable design. Rubric scoring of writing assignments and concept maps yielded valuable insights and improvements and demonstrated the overall validity of the module approach.
Modules lasting only one or two class days must be well-integrated into courses and curricula to promote greater learning value. Concept mapping may be a useful addition but involves a learning curve for both instructors and students.
By offering instructors access to a set of case-based modules, it becomes more practical for them to teach about sustainable infrastructure and decision-making.
The module exemplifies a project owner and an engineering firm strongly committed to social and environmental sustainability. Envision’s Quality of Life and Leadership categories emphasize community well-being, involvement and collaboration.
This module offers a unique transdisciplinary focus meeting several needs in engineering education on sustainability, complex problems and decision-making.
This paper aims to explore the differences in first-year and senior engineering students’ engineering agency beliefs and career goals related to sustainable development. The…
This paper aims to explore the differences in first-year and senior engineering students’ engineering agency beliefs and career goals related to sustainable development. The authors also sought to understand how topics related to sustainable development in engineering courses affect senior engineering students’ goals to address these issues in their careers. This work provides evidence of how students’ agency beliefs may be shaped by higher education, which is essential to workforce development.
Findings stem from two national surveys of engineering first-year (Sustainability and Gender in Engineering, n = 7,709) and senior students (Student Survey about Career Goals, College Experiences, n = 4,605). The authors compared both groups using pairwise testing by class standing.
The results indicate that undergraduate studies tend to reinforce students’ engineering agency beliefs to improve their quality of life and preserve the environment. Significantly more senior students selected career goals to address environmental issues compared to first-year students. In general, students undervalue their roles as engineers in addressing issues related to social inequities. Those topics are rarely addressed in engineering courses. Findings from this work suggest discussing sustainability in courses positively impact setting career goals to address such challenges.
The study compares results from two distinct surveys, conveyed at different periods. Nonetheless, the sample size and national spread of respondents across US colleges and universities are robust to offer relevant insights on sustainable development in engineering education.
Adapting engineering curriculum by ensuring that engineering students are prepared to confront global problems related to sustainable development in their careers will have a positive societal impact.
This study highlights shortcomings of engineering education in promoting social and economic sustainability as related to the engineering field. Educational programs would benefit from emphasizing the interconnectedness of environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. This approach could increase diversity in engineering education and the industry, and by ripple effect, benefit the communities and local governance.
This work is a first step toward understanding how undergraduate experiences impact students’ engineering agency beliefs and career goals related to sustainability. It explores potential factors that could increase students’ engineering agency and goals to make a change through engineering.