June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.415.1 - 11.415.7
Designing a B.S. Degree Program in Engineering for Globally Sustainable Development A new degree program for careers in international engineering is proposed. This degree program starts with a foundation of engineering science courses that are typical of most undergraduate engineering degree programs. Then, courses directly related to the practice of engineering in a global environment for sustainable development are added. To complement the engineering courses, a series of general education courses were chosen that address major global social issues. Herein, the new engineering program is described, along with the program plan. This new degree program has the advantage of developing an international-focused curriculum within engineering for students with a strong interest in eliminating world poverty in a sustainable manner.
A major role for faculty is curriculum updating and design. As the world of engineering changes, it is a faculty responsibility to keep the curriculum up to date and relevant for current and future students. Faculties normally respond by making incremental changes and adjustments to the curricula. Over time, incremental changes can lead to curricula that are no longer meeting the goals of the engineering workforce or the institution’s graduates. At this point, other stakeholders may call for wholesale changes, or reforms, to the curriculum.
Siller and Johnson1 describe how much of engineering education reform is really just about moving the boundaries that make up the sub-sections of the curriculum. For example, engineering programs forty years ago consisted primarily of large tracts of analysis courses with a much smaller tract of social (non-engineering) courses and synthesis courses were nearly non-existent. As described in that paper, ABET 2000 with its emphasis on synthesis and social courses has caused some changes within engineering curricula, but not enough to make engineering appealing to many underrepresented groups of students.
Kam2 has noted that engineering does not appeal to women students even though engineering has been heavily marketed towards them. What is the problem? How might we fix it? Kam states that “whether we like it or not, the current engineering curriculum has demonstrated itself to be strongly oriented toward males.” Kam continues “As unfashionable and unseemly as it may sound, the time may have come to try consciously to develop an engineering curriculum aimed deliberately at young women.” Obviously, if the new curriculum is designed appropriately, it should appeal to men who have not been attracted to engineering because of how engineering has been perceived by them. In other words, engineering not only has not appealed to women but there are many men who have been turned off for the same reason that these young women have. Engineering programs that put technology in a societal context signal to women students that technology is useful and may be gainfully used in solving societal issues.3 Engineering as a career in the U.S. and in other western countries may be at a crossroads. The commoditization of engineering, or at a minimum, the popular presses’ persistent
Johnson, G., & Lakhder, D., & Siller, T. (2006, June), Designing A B.S. Degree Program In Engineering For Globally Sustainable Development Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/621
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