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Educational Innovation in a new Online Sustainable Systems Engineering Masters Degree Program through Cross-Campus Collaboration

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Environmental engineering pedagogy and innovation

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.455.1 - 23.455.9



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Paper Authors


Marty Anne Gustafson University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Marty Anne Gustafson is the Program Director for the University of Wisconsin's Master of Engineering in Sustainable Systems Engineering degree. Gustafson previously directed aerospace and military 3D online training systems and commercial product development for Orbital Technologies Corporation. Her work experience also includes Cummins, Inc. and ABB Automation. Her teaching experience includes graduate courses in the Engineering Management Masters Program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and technical communication courses for undergraduate students at UW–Madison.

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Carl Vieth University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Carl Vieth is the Director of Corporate Education for the Department of Engineering Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In this role, Carl brings the tremendous resources of the University to the engineering and technology community in business and government. Carl has been instrumental in forging College of Engineering corporate partnerships, and creating the Competency Modeling program within the Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD). In addition to his appointment in EPD, Carl is a frequent lecturer for the University’s Center for Advanced Studies in Business and leads process improvement projects across campus.

Prior to coming to the University, Carl was a Senior Consultant with GE Healthcare specializing in Cardiology, Emergency Services, Clinical Information Systems and Healthcare Administration. GE Healthcare is a global provider of healthcare technologies and services. Carl came to GE with the acquisition of Marquette Medical Systems, where he was the Director of Corporate Education. In this role, Carl had global responsibility for sales, technical, and customer training programs. As a Six-Sigma Black Belt, Carl led internal and customer-based performance improvement projects ranging from sales and commercial operations to clinical delivery systems and financial performance.

Carl’s teaching interests and experience reflect a wide range of development activities. Carl leads lean-six sigma training and development as part of the administrative process redesign initiative and the administrative excellence strategic initiative at the University of Wisconsin. In addition, Carl is a frequent lecturer on patient safety and healthcare system optimization. As the co-director of the technical leadership certificate program, Carl was instrumental in forging beneficial teaching partnerships with the Wisconsin School of Business.

Prior to coming to the UW, Carl managed global corporate training and development at Marquette Medical Systems, and continued in that role following the acquisition of Marquette by GE Healthcare. In that role, Carl was responsible professional sales training, leadership development programs, and related continuing education programs for 3,000 globally distributed employees. In this role Carl also designed, developed and administered customer clinical training on a wide range of critical care and cardiology clinical systems.

Carl has held senior leadership positions in various healthcare organizations in Southeastern Wisconsin. Within his experience as a healthcare administrator, Carl has directed a Cardiology Center of Excellence, lead an enterprise-wide marketing effort, and performed operations management as an Assistant Director of Nursing for Critical Care.

Carl earned his Diploma in Nursing (Honors) from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing and his Bachelors of Science in Nursing (Cum Laude) from Milton College. He received his Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. And has completed coursework towards his PhD in Cultural Foundations in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He holds a Certificate in Sales Management from the University of Wisconsin Center for Advanced Studies in Business, and Six Sigma Black Belt Certification through General Electric Corporation.

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Patrick Eagan University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Patrick Eagan is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Engineering Professional Development and is co-appointed in the Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies through which he develops and offers continuing environmental engineering education to practicing professionals. He currently chairs the Environment and Resources program in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and is a Sustainability Fellow in the Campus Office of Sustainability. He is currently in charge of developing campus sustainability metrics.
Dr. Eagan has been actively involved internationally in the development of design-for-the-environment tools and education since 1992. He has worked with many companies tailoring educational programs on the emerging topics of environmental awareness, life-cycle management/design-for-the-environment, environmental management systems, and environmental purchasing. In addition to his research in industrial ecology, his outreach courses include a range of topics including wastewater treatment and collection, stormwater quality and restoration of water resources. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he teaches sustainability competencies and industrial ecology for engineers on line as a part of the Sustainable Systems Engineering Masters degree. He uses collaborative learning techniques and class exercises to meet his educational goals.

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Educational Innovation in a new Online Sustainable Systems Engineering Masters Degree Program through Cross-Campus CollaborationIntegration of sustainable tools and practices in environmental engineering curricula ischallenged by the multitude of perspectives on sustainable issues. As sustainability rapidlybecomes a much-needed capability in public and private sector organizations however, taking abroader systems-level approach to sustainability by defining necessary competencies for studentsbetter supports development of an engineering community of practice.Based on a structured approach to defining competent performance, a sustainable competencymodel (SCM) was developed through interviews with faculty and industrial stakeholders. Itsmajor dimensions included: science and technology, business and economics, systems analysis,personal effectiveness, working across boundaries, management and planning, environmentaljustice and equity, and ideas and innovation. Within each dimension, the knowledge, skills,mindsets and behavioral attributes desired for engineers were further defined.Because competency models define exemplary practice, they are a reliable foundation forcurriculum development and learning needs assessment. The SCM therefore served as basis forcurriculum requirements in a new online Masters level Sustainable Systems Engineering degree(SSE).The SCM mandated that a systems approach be designed to ensure students would develop thecompetencies desired in an area of specialization (facilities, infrastructure or energy). However,since traditional engineering programs are relatively narrowly focused, SSE developed aninnovative new model for teaching, learning, and revenue sharing that facilitated multiplepartnerships with cross-campus departments, institutes and offices that support research andeducation within an individual competency dimension.Through better collaboration with emerging campus centers of excellence in a particularsustainable focus area, the SSE program offers broader systems-based instruction on sustainabletools and practices, while still integrating traditional engineering courses for technical depth.The collaborative online SCM-based approach also ensures graduates have the necessarycompetencies to lead sustainable projects by fully measuring the impact of sustainable initiativesand adding value for stakeholders.

Gustafson, M. A., & Vieth, C., & Eagan, P. (2013, June), Educational Innovation in a new Online Sustainable Systems Engineering Masters Degree Program through Cross-Campus Collaboration Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19469

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