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Assessing Sustainability Knowledge: A Framework of Concepts

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Collection

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

24.206.1 - 24.206.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20097

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

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Alice L. Pawley Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Alice L. Pawley is an associate professor in the School of Engineering Education with affiliations with the Women's Studies Program and Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. She has a B.Eng. in chemical engineering (with distinction) from McGill University, and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering with a Ph.D. minor in women's studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She runs the Feminist Research in Engineering Education (FREE, formerly RIFE) group, whose diverse projects and group members are described at the website http://feministengineering.org/. She can be contacted by email at apawley@purdue.edu.

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Stephen R. Hoffmann Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Stephen Hoffmann is Assistant Head for First-Year Engineering in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University-West Lafayette. His background is in chemistry, environmental science, and environmental engineering, and he has done work to bring sustainability concepts into a wide variety of courses in several disciplines.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Monica Cardella is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and an Affiliate in the Division of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. She plays a leadership role in Purdue's first-semester first-year engineering course which serves approximately 1,800 students each year. Her research focuses on the development of engineering thinking skills (primarily operationalized as design thinking and mathematical thinking) amongst students as young as 4-years-old, college students, as well as practicing professionals.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University and Central Queensland University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4052-1452

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Matthew W. Ohland is Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University and a Professorial Research Fellow at Central Queensland University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by over $12.8 million from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011. Dr. Ohland is past Chair of ASEE’s Educational Research and Methods division and a member the Board of Governors of the IEEE Education Society. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi.

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Ranjani Lakshman Rao Brian Lamb School of Communication, Purdue University

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RANJANI RAO is a doctoral student in Organizational Communication in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. She earned her masters in Media, Technology and Society from the same department in 2008. Prior to joining Purdue, Ranjani worked as a journalist with Indo-Asian News Service in New Delhi, India after obtaining her BA (Honours) in Economics from Delhi University and Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. Ranjani’s research explorations in communication have included careers in the context of immigration, media and family communication, work-family dynamics and qualitative research methods in engineering contexts. Her master’s thesis looked at media coverage of child abuse and neglect focusing on the Greater Lafayette Journal and Courier’s coverage of the 2005 Aiyana Gauvin case.

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Abigail R. Jahiel Illinois Wesleyan University

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Thomas P. Seager Arizona State University

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Associate Professor
School of Sustainable Engineering & the Built Environment
Arizona State University
Tempe AZ

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Linda Vanasupa California Polytechnic State University

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Linda Vanasupa has been a professor of materials engineering at the California Polytechnic State University since 1991. She also serves as co-director of the Center for Sustainability in Engineering at Cal Poly. Her life's work is focused on creating ways of learning, living and being that are alternatives to the industrial era solutions--alternatives that nourish ourselves, one another and the places in which we live. Her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees are in materials science and engineering from Stanford University and her B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.

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Abstract

Assessing  sustainability  knowledge:  a  framework  of  concepts    Environmental  sustainability  is  an  increasingly  critical  concept  for  engineering  students  to  incorporate  into  their  macroethical  and  practical  conceptualization  of  engineering  work.    However,  most  engineering  students  (excluding  those  focusing  on  environmental  issues)  have  little  opportunity  to  engage  with  the  topic  in  the  general  curriculum,  and  few  faculty  members  (again  outside  of  environmental  engineering)  have  the  content  knowledge  necessary  to  prepare  students  for  working  in  engineering  contexts  dealing  with  the  realities  of  climate  change  and  diminishing  global  “resources.”    To  that  end,  we  conducted  a  progressive  series  of  educational  research  studies  to  develop  a  framework  to  help  general  engineering  faculty  members  determine  how  to  incorporate  environmental  sustainability  into  their  mid-­‐level  (sophomore  and  junior)  traditional  technical  engineering  courses.    We  did  a  content  analysis  of  existing  literature  published  on  sustainability  in  engineering  education;  we  did  a  content  analysis  of  course  descriptions  and  titles  to  see  what  faculty  at  universities  across  the  country  articulated  as  related  to  sustainability;  we  collected  then  thematically  analyzed  statements  of  sustainability  published  by  a  variety  of  governmental,  industrial  and  commercial,  and  academic  institutions  to  see  what  people  were  arguing  were  critical  components  of  sustainability;  we  talked  with  undergraduate  engineering  students  to  see  what  they  were  learning  that  constituted  sustainability;  we  attended  public  professional  discussions  of  technical  engineering  academics  focused  on  sustainability  and  education;  and  we  convened  a  workshop  of  sustainability  (in  engineering)  education  experts  to  conduct  intensive  discussions  about  what  a  framework  of  sustainability  education  for  engineering  students  should  include.    The  outcomes  of  some  of  these  efforts  have  been  discussed  in  other  publications.    This  paper/poster  describes  this  last  activity  and  summarizes  the  project:  we  outline  the  set  of  ideas  we  gleaned  from  the  preliminary  activities,  the  design  of  the  workshop  and  the  collection  of  participants,  key  ideas  raised  in  the  workshop  discussions  and  the  framework  that  we  have  subsequently  developed  based  on  all  these  pieces  together.    This  framework  is  based  on  concepts  we  have  dubbed  “gateway  concepts”  in  that  they  are  opportunities  to  easily  hook  sustainability  concepts  to  traditional  engineering  educational  content  but  have  the  potential  to  allow  students  to  dive  much  deeper  into  content  should  faculty  members  provide  those  opportunities.    We  provide  illustration  of  these  gateway  concepts,  and  demonstrate  the  overall  framework’s  use  for  guiding  faculty  members’  curriculum  development.      

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