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Historic Background For Csm's Nature And Human Values

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.310.1 - 3.310.7

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Ronald V. Wiedenhoeft

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

Session 2761

Historic Background for CSM’s Nature and Human Values Ronald V. Wiedenhoeft Colorado School of Mines (CSM)

Since no university operates in a vacuum, developments in the academic community and society generally always stimulate changes in curricular emphases of specific institutions. Ecology is one of those “ideas in the air” that in recent years has fostered many new programs and courses. A few key dates and their major impulses are ♦ 1969, the establishment of the US Environmental Protection Agency; ♦ 1972, the first United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (in Stock- holm); ♦ 1987, the year of “Our Common Future,” the report of the World Commission on Environ- ment and Development (the “Brundtland Report”); ♦ 1992, the second United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (in Rio de Janeiro, the “Earth Summit”). The purpose of this paper is to examine ideas in the broader community that led CSM’s Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies (LAIS) to formulate a new freshman core-curriculum course entitled “Nature and Human Values.”

Not to be overlooked are the impulses that come to engineering schools through ABET’s (Ac- creditation Board for Engineering and Technology) Engineering Criteria 2000.1 Among the most relevant mandates from ABET are the following three. ♦ an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility ♦ the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context ♦ a knowledge of contemporary issues For engineering programs that include the word “environmental” in their title, ABET mandates the following goals, among otohers. ♦ knowledge of fundamental concepts of waste minimization and pollution prevention ♦ understanding of the roles and responsibilities of public institutions and private organizations in environmental management ♦ capability to apply environmental systems and process modeling techniques. Clearly there is new interest and stimulus to apply technology to saving the environment.

Devising Ecologically Conscious Mission Statements

Thus, one of the most striking changes in recent university mission statements has come to be an emphasis on ecological consciousness and responsibilities of engineers to be effective stewards of the Earth and its resources. The change is all the more striking in engineering programs that historically have emphasized extraction of the Earth’s minerals and energy resources, i.e., not an inherently ecological process. An almost revolutionary new mission statement of Colorado School of Mines pays homage to ecology in stating the following principles.


Wiedenhoeft, R. V. (1998, June), Historic Background For Csm's Nature And Human Values Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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