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Defining the Knowledge and Skills that Enable Engineers to Participate in Public Policy

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy I

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

25.383.1 - 25.383.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21141

Download Count

59

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Paper Authors

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J. Mendoza-Garcia Purdue University and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4943-6222

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He is a Ph.D. student and a Research Assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His advisor is Demetra Evangelou. He worked for industry for seven years and then became an academic. He has been a professor of the Department of Systems Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, since 2005. He is interested in research about learning engineering complementary knowledge like systems thinking and public policy. He is also interested in topics related to learning communities, social awareness, and motivation in engineering. He finished his bachelor's degree at Universidad Nacional de Colombia and his magister (honored degree) at Universidad de los Andes. Both degrees were in systems engineering and computing and both universities are located in Bogotá, Colombia. Email: mendozag@purdue.edu.

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Ida B. Ngambeki Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ida Ngambeki is a doctoral candidate at the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research interests include vocational choice in engineering, human-artifact interaction, and engineering and public policy.

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Lamis J. Behbehani Purdue University

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Lamis J. Behbehani is a Ph.D. candidate in ecological sciences and the Engineering Interdisciplinary program, Purdue University.

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Demetra Evangelou Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Demetra Evangelou, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She obtained her B.A. in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University, and a M.Ed. and Ph.D. in education from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is a member of Sigma Xi Science Honor Society. Evangelou was awarded an NSF CAREER grant in 2009 and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2011. Evangelou’s current research focuses on engineering thinking, developmental factors in engineering pedagogy, technological literacy, and human-artifact interactions.

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P. Suresh C. Rao Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Suresh Rao is the Rieth Distinguished Professor of ecological engineering in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. Prior to coming to Purdue 13 years ago, Rao was on the faculty for 25 years at the University of Florida. His research and educational interest span a broad spectrum of trans-disciplinary themes at the intersection of how human societies alter natural landscapes, and how multitude of ecological adverse impacts cascade through complex coupled systems. He teaches multiple courses with emphasis on application of sustainability and resilience concepts to better manage complex systems. He has worked on translation of research findings to development of practical solutions, and to inform policy development.

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Monica Farmer Cox Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Abstract

Defining the knowledge and skills that enable engineers to participate in public policyThe role of engineers in public policy can be seen as a twofold endeavor: (1) to help createpublic policy related to the utilization of technology to solve public problems as well as monitorand assure compliance with such policies; and (2) to use engineering knowledge to assist in theconstruction of policy directives to help solve social problems. The policy, engineering, andengineering education communities, through speeches, statements, and reports, have agreed thatit is important that engineers participate fully in the policymaking process. Therefore, it is crucialthat students increase their understanding of different public policy issues, and understand thepolicy creation and evaluation process. A few courses and even fewer programs of study existthat address this need. However, there is little empirical understanding of the knowledge andskills engineering students must obtain in order to be able to participate effectively in thecreation and evaluation of Public Policy issues. This paper intends to offer guidance on this pointthrough two different approaches: a literature review and interviews with experts. Because of thenature of the problem, the type of literature review done for the project was thematic. In thisreview, the major ideas of different authors who have written about general curricular design,curricular design in public policy for STEM programs, and authors who have published theircourse curriculums in public policy whose students are categorized under the umbrella of STEM,were investigated. The result provides a picture of the current curricular landscape of publicpolicy education in the engineering context. The research team also completed interviews with anumber of individual experts with different backgrounds and levels of engagement in publicpolicy and engineering. These experts were asked about the skills and knowledge necessary forthem to successfully engage with and influence public policy debates related to engineeringconcepts. These experts were also asked how they acquired these skills. The results from theliterature review, providing a theoretical perspective, and interviews with experts, providing amore practical perspective, were combined to propose a profile of the skills and knowledgestudents of engineering might need to learn to be able to participate effectively in public policy.These results are expected to add to the academic discussion in this area and be useful to thegrowing field of Engineering and Public Policy to guide colleges and universities as they build,expand, and improve their programs of study.

Mendoza-Garcia, J., & Ngambeki, I. B., & Behbehani, L. J., & Evangelou, D., & Rao, P. S. C., & Cox, M. F. (2012, June), Defining the Knowledge and Skills that Enable Engineers to Participate in Public Policy Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21141

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