Asee peer logo

Evaluation Of Sustainable Engineering Education Via Service Learning And Community Service Efforts

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Sustainability in Engineering Curricula

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.543.1 - 15.543.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mary McCormick Tufts University

author page

Kristina Lawyer Michigan Technological University

author page

Meredith Berlin University of Colorado - Boulder

author page

Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16

author page

Kurt Paterson Michigan Technological University Orcid 16x16

author page

Angela Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

author page

Jonathan Wiggins University of Colorado, Boulder

Download Paper |

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

Evaluation of Sustainable Engineering Education via Service Learning and Community Service Efforts

Abstract Sustainable engineering considers the potential environmental, health, economic, and social impacts in conceiving, developing, and constructing products or systems. Sustainable engineering technologies that emerge are designed to meet the current needs of a client or community and to endure anticipated future challenges. Sustainable engineering education is critical in moving towards the paradigm of a sustainable world. For students to discern the impact of engineering decisions on multiple levels requires a unique pedagogical approach; sustainable engineering education will enable them to implement holistic problem-solving methods and deliver sustainable solutions. Although sustainable engineering programs are proliferating in engineering education, there is little supporting evidence regarding the quality of these learning experiences. One approach, sustainable engineering through service learning, appears to have pedagogical advantages, but has yet to be rigorously explored. This paper outlines an approach to evaluate if such an advantage exists. Our goal is to determine if (and how) service learning provides an appropriate method to instill sustainable engineering educational outcomes in engineering students. Service learning has been shown to enrich students’ learning experiences and to be intrinsically motivational to engineering students. Consequently, we are evaluating the outcomes resulting from the explicit integration of sustainable engineering and service learning in engineering education. Sustainable engineering via service learning efforts, both curricular and extracurricular, are being practiced in civil and environmental engineering programs at many institutions. In this research detailed analyses will examine efforts at Tufts University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and Michigan Technological University. Our assessment will utilize existing qualitative and quantitative tools that measure knowledge and skills of, and attitudes towards, sustainable engineering concepts of participating engineering students. The research design will use mixed methods in a quasi-experimental, change-over-time approach. Match comparison control groups will consist of engineering students not involved in these service learning activities. From the collected data, we will establish a “Best Practices” framework to provide insight on the benefits, resources, and adoption of sustainable engineering via service learning. Background: Need for Sustainable Engineering Over the last few years, recognition of the need to shift the engineering education paradigm has escalated, fueled by a palpable sense of urgency. In response, professional organizations, industry executives, and faculty members have addressed the need for reform by prescribing the necessary skills and attributes with which engineers must be equipped to overcome future challenges1, 2. To identify the necessary skill sets and align them with accreditation criteria, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) sought guidance from a group of proactive industry leaders, all member of their Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The ABET

McCormick, M., & Lawyer, K., & Berlin, M., & Swan, C., & Paterson, K., & Bielefeldt, A., & Wiggins, J. (2010, June), Evaluation Of Sustainable Engineering Education Via Service Learning And Community Service Efforts Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16322

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015