Asee peer logo

Human Environment Interactions: The Initiation Of A New Curriculum

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.313.1 - 3.313.8

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Arthur B. Sacks

Download Paper |

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

Session 2761

Human-Environment Interactions: The Initiation of a New Curriculum

Arthur B. Sacks Colorado School of Mines

“Philosophers since Socrates have insisted that the unexamined life is not worth living; but only more recently have environmental philosophers insisted that life in an unexamined world is not worth living either.” 1 -Holmes Rolston III “...we must recognize that all education is environmental education, by which I mean that students are taught in various and often unintended ways that they are part of, or apart from, natural systems. Furthermore, we must recognize that the goal of education is not the mastery of knowledge, but the mastery of self through knowledge...In the conduct of teaching, we must also acknowledge that the process of learning is often as important as content, and that institutions teach by what they do as well as by what they say.” 2 -David W. Orr

In the years immediately preceding the current design and development phase of a new undergraduate curriculum for the Colorado School of Mines (CSM)-a process which began in 1994-CSM articulated a powerful new vision of itself. While maintaining the strength and character of the Earth science and Earth resource disciplines which established the school’s reputation and also acknowledging the rapid expansion of the school’s general engineering fields over the past ten years. CSM articulated a new expression of its heritage and would become “an 3 academy for the stewardship of the Earth." This simple statement underscored a profound change in self-concept built upon the recognition that engineering and applied science have a responsibility for responding to the environmental challenges of our age, challenges, ironically, which were created in part by the very intelligence, imagination and ingenuity of engineers and applied scientists. It pointed as well to the responsibility of higher educational institutions for developing new ideas, strategies and technologies to respond to quickly emerging environmental problems that are increasingly transboundary and global in character and which threaten to undermine the fundamental biospheric systems and ecosystem services upon which we depend. This responsibility is all the more significant because of higher education’s primary role in preparing new generations of leaders for industry, commerce, science and government.

In defining itself as an institution dedicated to Earth stewardship, CSM has acknowledged that st ours is indeed the Age of the Environment, that the 21 century will demand engineers and applied scientists aware of the complexity of environmental problems and how such problems emanate from the interactions of human systems and environmental systems. As I have commented elsewhere, is important to observe that CSM students...will live professional and personal lives


Sacks, A. B. (1998, June), Human Environment Interactions: The Initiation Of A New Curriculum Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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: © 1998 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