St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.40.1 - 5.40.9
Justification for Incorporating Ecological Sciences into a Natural Resources Engineering Degree Program With Areas of Emphasis in Environmental and Ecological Engineering David K. Gattie, Matt C. Smith University of Georgia
A Natural Resources Engineering degree program within the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Georgia has been proposed and is currently under review. This initiative spawned from the realization by some engineering faculty, and other university scientists involved in the conservation and use of natural resources, that the interface between society and nature has become increasingly complex. These same engineering faculty members have concluded that the present natural resource area of emphasis in Agricultural Engineering and the environmental emphasis in Biological Engineering are too narrow in focus to prepare students to address this increasing complexity. A new degree program is proposed with areas of emphasis in environmental and ecological engineering focusing on point and non- point sources of pollution respectively. Within these two new areas will be the inclusion of mandatory and optional classes in ecology that will expand the engineering student’s understanding into the present scientific view of environmental health and integrity. The objectives of this new degree program will focus on including ecological constraints when designing systems that will impact the tangible and intangible natural resources utilized explicitly and implicitly by society. Moreover, the conservation, management and protection of these resources will be emphasized. This paper presents a brief philosophical justification for the two areas based on the potential contributions of ecological science to the practice of engineering and on the commonality among engineering and ecology.
Has the relationship between society and nature become so complex that traditional engineering education is not preparing its students to adequately understand the environment that they are expected to protect, conserve and manage? Over the past 30 plus years environmental disciplines have garnered much attention. As environmental awareness gained public momentum in the late sixties and early seventies environmental considerations were included in the design of societal systems. Much of what led to this resulted from the work of biologists and ecologists whose studies clearly demonstrated the need to protect natural resources for the sake of society. A major part of this was with regard to public health as well. Thus environmental protection was included in the engineering design process via federal and state regulations. In the realm of engineering education this has resulted in the incorporation of rigorous physical, biological and chemical principles in environmental engineering curricula.
Smith, M. C., & Gattie, D. K. (2000, June), A Natural Resources Engineering Degree With Areas Of Emphasis In Environmental And Ecological Engineering Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. https://peer.asee.org/8584
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