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Creating An Engineering For Developing Communities Emphasis In Environmental Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Service Learning Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.364.1 - 10.364.15



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Paper Authors

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William Moeller

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Margaret Pinnell

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Bernard Amadei

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Jay Shah

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R. Scott Summers

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Angela Bielefeldt

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Robyn Sandekian

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2451

Creating an Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) Emphasis in Environmental Engineering Angela R. Bielefeldt*, R. Scott Summers*, Bernard Amadei*, Margaret Pinnell†, William Moeller‡, Robyn Sandekian*, Jay Shah* *University of Colorado, Dept. Civil, Environmental, & Arch. Engrg †University of Dayton, Dept. Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering ‡ University of Massachusetts Lowell, Dept. Civil & Environm Engrg

Abstract A comprehensive program in Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) is being created at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU). As part of the program, an EDC option in the Environmental Engineering (EVEN) B.S. degree is being proposed. Given the success of the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) outreach and service program, it is expected that student interest in the EDC option will be significant. At a workshop on “Integrating Appropriate- Sustainable Technology and Service-Learning in Engineering Education” held at CU on September 27-29, 2004, participants were surveyed on existing courses and programs at their universities that are relevant to EDC. A description of the proposed curriculum, option courses and technical electives for the proposed EDC emphasis in EVEN are provided. Relevant social science and humanistic electives are recommended. The information will provide a foundation for other universities interested in an EDC program, although it will take a number of years before outcomes assessments are available.

Background In the next two decades, almost 2 billion additional people are expected to populate the Earth, with 95% of that growth taking place in developing or under-developed countries. This will create unprecedented demands for energy, food, water, materials, waste disposal, health care, environmental cleanup, and infrastructure. Since such global problems are not usually addressed in engineering curricula in the US, we do not have engineering schools that educate engineers to address the needs of the most impoverished people on our planet, many of them living in industrialized countries. This is unfortunate as it is estimated that 40% of the world’s population lack adequate sanitation, 20% lack clean water, and 20% lack adequate housing.1

Furthermore, engineers have a critical role to play in addressing the complex problems associated with refugees, displaced populations, and large-scale population movement worldwide resulting from political conflicts, famine, land shortage, or natural hazards. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), currently 1.8 billion people (30% of the world’s population) live in conflict zones, in transition, or in situations of permanent instability.

It is clear that the pedagogy of engineering education needs to change (or even be reinvented) in order to address the challenges associated with the global problems mentioned above. Today, there is still a strong disconnect between what is expected of young engineers in engineering firms, the magnitude of the problems that we are facing in our global economy, ABET’s

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Moeller, W., & Pinnell, M., & Amadei, B., & Shah, J., & Summers, R. S., & Bielefeldt, A., & Sandekian, R. (2005, June), Creating An Engineering For Developing Communities Emphasis In Environmental Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15545

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