New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
It is increasingly important that engineers learn how to design for sustainability, while also having the attitudes that encourage activation of their sustainable engineering knowledge. Design for sustainability may also encompass related attitudes, such as interdisciplinarity, consideration of others, and a predisposition to work globally. This study spanned multiple institutions and explored the impacts of different educational models that were aimed at impacting both students’ sustainability knowledge and the related attitudes. The research questions were: (1) To what extent do first and second-year students vary across institutions based on their motivation toward sustainable engineering, appreciation for interdisciplinary skills, consideration of others in the context of engineering, and interest in global work? (2) How do different educational models impact first and second-year students’ attitudes on these issues? We did not find large differences between the sustainability attitudes of incoming first year students across three institutions, while at one institution the environmental engineering students had higher sustainability affect as compared to civil engineering students and students who enrolled in a sustainability focused living-learning cohort. Interdisciplinary value, concern for others and global work interests were initially quite similar across institutions. Across the semester, all five course models increased students’ confidence in their sustainability knowledge; the largest gains occurred in a sustainability-focused seminar course and the smallest gains were in an introductory environmental engineering course that had a single lecture focused on sustainability. Other attitude changes were generally minor, although in some cases decreased. Students’ attitudes around sustainability may be resilient to change, particularly in formal learning environments.
Bielefeldt, A. R., & Jones, S. A., & Mueller, J., & Schulte Grahame, K., & Gillen, A. (2016, June), Impacts of Sustainability Education on the Attitudes of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25552
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