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Assimilating Sustainability Concepts in Engineering Management Graduate Program Capstone Projects

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Management Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Ben D. Radhakrishnan National University

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Prof. Ben D Radhakrishnan is currently a full time Faculty in the School of Engineering, Technology and Media (SETM), National University, San Diego, California, USA. He develops and teaches Engineering and Sustainability Management graduate level courses. Ben has taught Sustainability workshops in Los Angeles (Army) and San Diego (SDGE). His special interests and research include promoting Leadership in Sustainability Practices, energy management of Data Centers and to establish Sustainable strategies for enterprises. He is an Affiliate Researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, focusing on the energy efficiency of IT Equipment in a Data Centers.
As a means of promoting student-centric learning, Prof. Radhakrishnan has successfully introduced games in to his sustainability classes where students demonstrate the 3s of sustainability, namely, Environment, Economics and Equity, through games. Students learn about conservation (energy, water, waste, equity, etc.) through games and quantifying the results. He has published papers on this subject and presented them in conferences.
Before his teaching career, he had a very successful corporate management career working in R&D at Lucent Technologies and as the Director of Global Technology Management at Qualcomm. He had initiated and managed software development for both the companies in India.
Prof. Radhakrishnan holds Masters Degrees (M.Tech, M.S., M.B.A) and Sustainable Business Practices certification from University of California San Diego.

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Timothy J. Pettit National University

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Dr. Tim Pettit is an Associate Professor and Academic Program Director for the Bachelor of Arts in Management degree and the MBA Specialization in Supply Chain Management within the School of Business and Management at National University. He instructs graduate and undergraduate courses in Management and Supply Chain Management. In addition, he is a member of his field’s premier professional organization, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. He is a world-wide lecturer and researcher on Supply Chain Risk and Resilience.

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Engineering Management (EM) as a graduate program has become increasingly popular in the last several decades, thus offered by many universities worldwide. EM evolved from a business management graduate program where primary focus is on the business attributes (e.g. economics, marketing). The primary focus and emphasis of EM program is on both technical expertise and general management aspects such as project management, operations, business management and leadership. Technical tools are imparted in an EM graduate program today include modelling, advanced statistics, quality, operations research and technology assessment.

Major world corporations, governments, and non-profits are now actively engaged in implementing sustainability related projects with the goal of balancing economics, environment, and equity (or social justice), generally known as the 3Es. Sustainability is becoming so important that the American Society of Engineering Management is in the process of publishing its special sustainability issue with features focused on the 3Es. Key technical and EM tools in modern EM programs are becoming necessary for today’s leaders for the implementation of sustainability projects. The rigor, tools and methodologies of an EM graduate program easily enables implementation of sustainability projects during EM’s capstone project courses. These projects provide hands-on experience to satisfy both the short and long-term goals of an organization.

This paper demonstrates how several sustainability capstone projects related to energy and recycling were implemented as a part of EM’s capstone courses. The example projects were sponsored by energy utilities and other organizations. They describe EM’s rigor, models and methodologies used to demonstrate how sustainability principles can be effective assimilated into graduate EM capstone courses. With no change to any EM curriculum, student teams were successful in implementing sustainability related projects in their capstone course. This paper will also present ideas of how sustainability related projects can be assimilated in other programs using existing curriculum.

Radhakrishnan, B. D., & Pettit, T. J. (2019, June), Assimilating Sustainability Concepts in Engineering Management Graduate Program Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32132

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