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Exploring the Expanding Impact of a Sustainable Development Engineering Course Through a Critical Evolutionary Review

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Community Engagement in Engineering Education Projects

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

26.735.1 - 26.735.20

DOI

10.18260/p.24072

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24072

Download Count

56

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Paper Authors

biography

Kevin Orner University of South Florida

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Kevin Orner is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida, where he studies nutrient management of wastewater. Kevin was a Teaching Assistant and course instructor for the Sustainable Development Engineering course in Fall 2014. After obtaining a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a certificate in Technical Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kevin served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. In December 2011, he completed his M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. Kevin is an E.I.T. with engineering consulting experience.

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Christine Prouty University of South Florida

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Colleen Claire Naughton University of South Florida

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Colleen Naughton is a doctoral student at the University of South Florida in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is advised by Dr. James R. Mihelcic. Colleen is also part of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program where she served and conducted research in Mali, West Africa for three years as a Water and Sanitation Extension Agent. Her research was focused on “Monitoring and Evaluation of an Appropriate Handwashing Technology.” Colleen’s dissertation research involves a human and embodied material energy analysis of the Shea Butter process; mapping the Shea Butter belt using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to estimate the area and population that work with and consume Shea butter; and quantifying emissions of carbon black from the smoking and boiling of shea nuts.

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Nathan Daniel Manser University of South Florida

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Nathan Manser is an Environmental Engineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Florida conducting research on the fate of pathogens in biological waste to energy systems. His research interests include the application of household engineered systems to recover resources in a low impact environment, developing globally competent engineering graduates and integrating active learning methods into engineering curriculums.

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Matthew E. Verbyla University of South Florida

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Matthew Verbyla is a Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the University of South Florida, where he studies pathogen removal and microbial risk of water reuse in wastewater treatment pond (lagoon) systems. Matthew obtained his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College in 2006, and his M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida in 2012. Matthew is an E.I.T. and a LEED Green Associate with several years of work experience both in the United States and in Latin America.

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Maya A. Trotz University of South Florida

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Maya A. Trotz is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Theater from MIT and MSc and PhD degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. Her research, teaching, and service interests are at the nexus of geochemistry/water quality and global/community engagement and sustainability. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses including Aquatic Chemistry, Sustainable Development Engineering, and Environ. Engr. Laboratory. She contributed to two books: The Chemical Element. Chemistry’s Contribution to Our Global Future (Wiley, 2011) and Field Guide in Environmental Engineering for Development Workers: Water, Sanitation, Indoor Air (ASCE Press, 2009). She is a board member of the Caribbean Green Technology Center based at the University of the Virgin Islands and recently served on the Governing Council of the Caribbean Science Foundation (CSF). She received the 2014 AEESP award for “Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Engineering & Science Education” and the 2013 CSF Service award.

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James R. Mihelcic University of South Florida

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Dr. James R. Mihelcic is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and State of Florida 21st Century World Class Scholar at the University of South Florida. Dr. Mihelcic directs the Peace Corps Master's International Program in Civil & Environmental Engineering (http://cee.eng.usf.edu/peacecorps) which allows students to combine their graduate studies with service and research in the Peace Corps as water/sanitation engineers (in developing world settings). He is also director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Research Center for Reinventing Aging Infrastructure for Nutrient Management (RAINmgt). He is an international expert in provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene in developed and developing world communities. His teaching and research interests are centered around engineering and sustainability, specifically understanding how global stressors such as climate, land use, and urbanization influence water resources, water quality, water reuse, and selection and provision of water supply and sanitation technologies.

Dr. Mihelcic is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chartered Science Advisory Board. He is past president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), a Board Certified Environmental Engineering Member, and current Board Trustee with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (AAEES). He is lead author for 4 textbooks: Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering (John Wiley & Sons, 1999) (translated into Spanish); Field Guide in Environmental Engineering for Development Workers: Water, Sanitation, Indoor Air (ASCE Press, 2009); and, Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design (1st and 2nd Editions, John Wiley & Sons, 2010, 2014) (1st Edition translated into Spanish and Portuguese).

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Abstract

Exploring the Expanding Impact of a Sustainable Development Engineering Course Through a Critical Evolutionary Review A Sustainable Development Engineering course (cross listed in the College of PublicHealth as Water Pollution and Treatment) has evolved over seven years at this university toincorporate interdisciplinary groups of graduate students to engage in critical thinking andproblem solving. The objectives of the course are to 1) apply engineering fundamentals andappropriate technology in design, construction, operation, and maintenance of engineeringprojects that serve people living in the developing world and smaller communities in the U.S.,2) learn how community-based engineering projects fit into larger, global issues of sustainabledevelopment, 3) develop an understanding of the important inter-relationship of public healthand engineering; 4) incorporate environmental, societal, and economic considerations andcommunity participation into engineering practice. As part of the Sustainable Development Engineering course, interdisciplinary groups areexpected to collaborate with community partners and produce a valuable suite of deliverablesincluding a construction project, a multimedia presentation, and a project proposal to communitystakeholders. The relationship is mutually beneficial—students provide on-site skilled labor,visually powerful multi-media presentations, and high quality project proposals for thecommunity; in return, the students create project deliverables that act as a professional product todisplay the knowledge and skills they have developed during the course. In addition, eachdeliverable integrates varying levels of partnership with the community, sharpening theirteamwork and cross-cultural global competencies. Furthermore, a reinforcing loop has emergedover the years of the course’s evolution as former students have become instructors for thecourse, grafting their field experience into lectures and community partnershipdevelopment. This affords instructors opportunities to improve skills in lesson planning,instructing, and classroom management. Because of the valuable and broadening impact of the class, the purpose of this paper isto investigate the course evolution over the past seven years and the manner in which the coursechanges have translated into an expanding impact. This will be achieved through a comparisonand critical reflection of previous syllabi in conjunction with class goals, global competencies,and engineering education literature.

Orner, K., & Prouty, C., & Naughton, C. C., & Manser, N. D., & Verbyla, M. E., & Trotz, M. A., & Mihelcic, J. R. (2015, June), Exploring the Expanding Impact of a Sustainable Development Engineering Course Through a Critical Evolutionary Review Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24072

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