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Gauging Student Interest In A Design For Developing Communities Courses At The University Of Hartford

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula III

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.773.1 - 12.773.9



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Paper Authors


David Pines University of Hartford

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David Pines is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hartford. He completed his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2000. He is actively involved with student projects sponsored by environmental engineering firms, municipalities, and water utilities, and is involved in international service learning projects in conjunction with EWB.

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

Gauging Student Interest in a Design for Developing Communities Course at the University of Hartford


Community service learning projects are an important part of the curriculum in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford. To further this service learning experience, an interdisciplinary engineering course has been developed to provide interested students an opportunity to design and implement a project for a developing community. During the second semester of the sophomore year, students are given a choice to work on a contemporary engineering problem. Starting in spring 2007 semester, a design for developing communities’ project had been included as one of the projects. In addition to learning about sustainable design, students will have the opportunity to implement their design over the summer where they will learn about “on-location” issues that can not be duplicated in the classroom. The interest in providing students this type of opportunity has grown dramatically in the last several years as indicated by the number of papers being presented at engineering education conferences on this subject and the growth of organizations such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB)1. This paper summarizes how a design for developing communities course was added to the curriculum and the challenges involved in providing the students the opportunity to implement their project on-site without having to spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising. Furthermore, the results of a survey assessing students’ level of interest for working on this type of project are also discussed.


The engineering programs at the University of Hartford include a project based design course in each year of the curriculum. Within this format, the sophomore and junior year design courses provide an excellent opportunity for these to be service learning projects. These projects directly support the University’s mission statement which emphasizes that taking an active role in the community is an important element of a student’s preparation for a lifetime of learning and personal and professional success. Furthermore, the University of Hartford also strives to offer its students a complete education, one that will prepare them for the challenges of the global community of the 21st century2. Numerous examples of these type of research and design projects have been described in previous ASEE conference papers and assessment of the service learning projects by community sponsors, faculty, alumni, and students has been very positive3,4,5. However, most of the projects focused on the Greater Hartford area and do not give the students a perspective of the global challenges they will face throughout their engineering career.

To meet the goal of preparing our students with meeting the challenges of the global community, it was decided to provide students an opportunity to work on a design for developing community project in their sophomore design course. The basis for selecting the sophomore design course as opposed to other alternatives considered was discussed in a previous paper6. In summary, it was concluded that is was not feasible to add a required course to the curriculum because of the

Pines, D. (2007, June), Gauging Student Interest In A Design For Developing Communities Courses At The University Of Hartford Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2023

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