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Environmental Sustainability Education: Tool to Improve Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Better Policy?

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Engineering and Public Policy I

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.579.1 - 25.579.6



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Paper Authors


Ganapathy Subramanian Natarajan Texas Tech University

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Gana Natarajan is a Ph.D student in Systems and Engineering Management at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. He has a Master's in Engineering Management from University of Minnesota Duluth and a bachelor of engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Anna University, India. His research interests are sustainable practices in small and medium-sized enterprises and sustainability education.

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Chinweike I Eseonu Texas Tech University

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Chinweike Eseonu is a doctoral student in Systems and Engineering Management at Texas Tech University. Mr. Eseonu's area of research focus is public policy and technical entrepreneurship, with focus on the effect of networks and technical professionals on the policy process. Mr. Eseonu is a graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ottawa and received his Masters in Engineering Management at the University of Minnesota.

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David A. Wyrick PE, PEM Texas Tech University

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David A. Wyrick is Professor and Bryan Pearce Bagley Regents Chair of Engineering at Texas Tech University. He has accepted the position of Dean of the School of Science and Engineering at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. His interests include effective management of technology, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), sustainability and technical policy, engineering education, and learning abroad for engineers. He has taught capstone design for mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and engineering management programs, primarily in cooperation with external clients. At Texas Tech University, he developed a faculty-led course in International Engineering that has been offered in Nantes, France, and Luleå, Sweden.

Previous to the 2007, he was at the University of Minnesota Duluth, including 9 years as head of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He has also been a visiting professor at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. He has over 6 years of experience in the oil and gas and computer industries, and has worked with small companies on process improvement projects. Beginning in the summer of 2012, Dr. Wyrick will assume the position of Dean of the School of Science and Engineering at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Rolla in Engineering Management, M.S.E.M. from the University of Alaska, Anchorage and B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wyoming.

Dr. Wyrick is a licensed professional engineer and is a certified Professional Engineering Manager. He has been active with ASME since joining as a student in 1977, serving as Secretary and President of the Alaska Section, on the board of the Management Division, and founding faculty advisor of the student section at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is currently President of the American Society for Engineering Management. Dr. Wyrick is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, Institute of Industrial Engineers, US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the International Association of Engineers, and Tau Beta Pi.

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Environmental Sustainability Education: Tool to Improve Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Better Policy?Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) contribute between 80% and 90% of all industriesin the world. The pollution caused by SMEs is also high due these high numbers. Implementingenvironmentally sustainable practices is of utmost importance in the current situation. One of themajor factors affecting companies following such sustainable practices is the culture of thecompany. The owner (or group of owners) affects the culture heavily, given the small size ofSMEs. Research has shown that owners with prior education about environmentally sustainablepractices are more likely to be proactive in implementing such practices in their companies.However, programs aimed at environmentally sustainable entrepreneurship are scarce in theUnited States. Some universities in the European Union have successfully integrated sustainableentrepreneurship courses. The follow-up studies have shown that students who were part of theprogram were more proactive in pollution control, both as owners and employees of SMEs.Policy makers across the United States, for instance, are in search of sustainable policy practicesthat ensure job creation and revenue streams, while satisfying sustainability goals. Literatureshows that the rate of technological progress far outpaces the rate of related policyimplementation. It also shows that universities remain one of the most effective means ofknowledge management to combat this lag between policy and technology progress. This paperdiscusses the European cases of sustainable entrepreneurship curricula at universities and theresulting effect on policy and practice. The discussion will inform recommendations forincorporating sustainability and entrepreneurship into engineering curricula.

Natarajan, G. S., & Eseonu, C. I., & Wyrick, D. A. (2012, June), Environmental Sustainability Education: Tool to Improve Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Better Policy? Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21336

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