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Developing Student Awareness In The Social And Economic Aspects Of Civil Engineering Projects

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Topics in Civil ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.407.1 - 8.407.10



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Rose

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

Session 2549 Developing Student Awareness in the Social and Economic Aspects of Civil Engineering Projects

Andrew T. Rose University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Abstract Through the use of a video, a writing assignment, and class discussions, students in a junior level engineering technology course were exposed to and asked to consider and discuss some of social and economic issues associated with various projects. A survey prior to these experiences was used to assess student awareness of the social an economic aspects of civil engineering projects in general and a highway by-pass and large dam in particular. Students then watched a video on large dams and were assigned to write about the social and economic issues associated with large dams. In addition they were asked to discuss the social and economic issues of a local project of their choice. After the assignment, class discussion was used to highlight some of the social and economic issues encountered in each project. Student feedback on this learning experience was also obtained.

Introduction Civil engineering technology students prepare for technical careers in a profession in which the social and economic implications of a project are often as important as the technical aspects. As such, their education should not only include learning the technical aspects of their discipline, but also should provide opportunities to develop a sense of awareness regarding the social and economic implications of a variety of civil engineering projects. ABET1 recognizes this need and requires engineering technology programs to include such issues in the curriculum.

Professional issues can be incorporated into the engineering technology curriculum. One example would be to include social and economic impacts as part of new or revised courses dealing with sustainable development. 2 Another possibility exists in programs offering courses utilizing service- learning with community-based design projects.3 To fully realize the benefits of service-learning, a structured reflection component should be used to consider the social impacts of technology.3 In one engineering technology program,4 a required course in Designing for the Environment has been proposed to better address this need. At one institution, economic, social and cultural impacts have been incorporated into a web-based Environmental Impact Assessment course.5 Lower level courses that teach engineering design concepts6 or introduction to engineering courses7 often include some discussion of social and economic issues.

Incorporating professional issues such as the social and economic impact of engineering projects into the curriculum is best accomplished throughout the undergraduate curriculum.3 Instructors must take opportunities to include these within discipline specific courses where the relation between the technical aspects taught in class and real world applications will be most apparent for Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Rose, A. (2003, June), Developing Student Awareness In The Social And Economic Aspects Of Civil Engineering Projects Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12448

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