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Continuing Assessment of Sustainability Skills in the Environmental and Civil Engineering Curriculum

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

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Paper Authors


Diane L. Bondehagen Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Diane Bondehagen is an assistant professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University's U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1983, her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Florida International University in 1999, and her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida in 2005. Dr. Bondehagen joined FGCU after a research and teaching position at the University of Florida. Dr. Bondehagen is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Her current research interests are in engineering education and contaminant transport/remediation.

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Simeon J. Komisar Florida Gulf Coast University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Komisar is currently the Program Director of Environmental Engineering at FGCU. Prior to coming to FGCU, Dr. Komisar spent fifteen years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as Undergraduate Program Director of Environmental Engineering.

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Sustainability in engineering practice and design is increasingly important as an outcome for engineering education for Civil and Environmental Engineers. ABET criteria for both Environmental and Civil Engineering stress sustainability, and the development of curriculum components for these degree programs continues to evolve; efforts are directed at spreading sustainability across the curriculum either in a modular fashion or in directed course sequences specifically focused on sustainability. To evaluate curricular sustainability outcomes, we continue a longitudinal study to assess and address more successful curricular applications and teaching methods in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Departments, The mission statement of XXXX promotes “innovative, student-centered teaching and learning”, “the practices of environmental sustainability”, and promotes “habits of lifelong learning and the discovery of new knowledge.” As a key component in incorporating the University mission, the Sustainability in Engineering course was established in the 2008-2009 academic year. In keeping with this mission, the College next year will initiate an engineering graduate program with an emphasis on renewable energy and sustainability.

Currently, the senior-level course in Sustainability is required for Environmental Engineers and serves as an environmental elective for the majority of Civil Engineers. Environmental and Civil engineers at XXXX share the same course template for the first two years. Performance in the senior level Sustainability in Engineering course varies even though the topics reflect all varieties of infrastructure including energy efficiency, construction, transportation and water and waste infrastructure as well as project planning, life cycle analyses and economic topics. Students in both disciplines achieve student learning outcomes at high taxonomic levels; however, a large cohort of Civil Engineers fall short in achieving learning outcomes at the highest levels. To address these weaknesses and deepen student understanding, we implement project-based learning curriculum-wide that includes an emphasis on sustainability concepts. We continue to use survey instruments to assess student attitudes and depth of knowledge throughout their Junior and Senior years. In the capstone Engineering Senior Design Course, sustainability in design is assessed at the end of the term with a continual long-term assessment of sustainability knowledge. Our senior design assessment results will provide a view of our progress in implementing sustainability principles and practices curriculum-wide, with our current proposed strategy of incorporating concepts into several courses across the curriculum.

Bondehagen, D. L., & Komisar, S. J. (2017, June), Continuing Assessment of Sustainability Skills in the Environmental and Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28074

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