June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.295.1 - 15.295.23
Community Development & Engineering: Perspectives on interdisciplinary projects in Honduras Introduction
Sustainable community development is complex and dynamic. Engagement in the practical aspects of this field presents great challenges and opportunities for academic institutions. Addressing the needs of rural communities requires high-levels of interdisciplinary coordination and integration, as well as the commitment of time to understand the context of particular problems and the impact of interventions. The challenge and opportunities of rural development, particularly in the developing world, attract faculty and students from higher education, who then must address the real constraints faced by engaging in long-term trans-disciplinary projects. This panel discussion summarizes the experience of three university service-learning programs engaging in community development in rural and peri-urban Honduras from different disciplinary starting points and who have shared information along the way. The program at the University of Vermont started as a series of community development and added engineering components and expertise over time. The Ohio State University and Colorado School of Mines began their respective work through the College of Engineering and encountered challenges requiring the “soft-skills” of community development disciplines. The latter developed a minor called humanitarian engineering to help prepare interested students for the practicum to follow. Over time the programs have sought to learn from each other’s experience and move toward more trans-disciplinary approaches. The lessons learned and challenges gained through these experiences will be summarized in this paper.
Context, Objectives and Approach
This paper considers three case studies describing the integration of engineering and community development. The first two cases were implemented through engineering programs and over time have sought out the skills of community development. The third case presented is a community development program that has increasingly developed an engineering orientation. Over the course of ten years the projects have moved through different project phases illustrating the interplay between the disciplinary skills.
The desire of engineers to apply their skills to the problems of international development has gained momentum in the past decade This is supported by the substantial growth in both the number and size of what might be called “engineering for development” programs, including large, multi-institutional programs like Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), as well as programs primarily located within a single institution, such
Baker, D., & Merrill, J., & Munoz, D. (2010, June), Community Development & Engineering: Perspectives On Interdisciplinary Projects In Honduras Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16820
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