Asee peer logo

Implementation of Sustainability Concepts in Environmental Engineering Curriculumns

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Sustainability and engineering education

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.701.1 - 23.701.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John Woolschlager Saint Louis University, Parks College of Eng.

visit author page

John Woolschlager is the founding Chair of a new Department of Civil Engineering that was started at Saint Louis University in the 2009/2010 academic year. Prior to joining Saint Louis University, Dr. Woolschlager was an Associate Professor at Arizona State University and at the University of North Florida. Dr. Woolschlager had been involved in over 3 million-dollars worth of collaborative research and engineering projects. Additionally, he was honored with the Student’s Choice Professor Award in 2003/2004 and nominated for the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2004/2005. His research involves developing computer models environmental processes and systems. Some examples of his funded projects include the optimization of hydraulics and water quality in a large-scale urban drinking water system, the optimization of wastewater treatment plants to achieve nutrient reduction, drinking water quality analysis and disinfection chemistry, and regional sustainability issues. Prior to becoming a faculty member, Dr. Woolschlager worked as an engineering consultant in the areas of environmental systems analysis, environmental planning, and water resources engineering for Harza Environmental Services (HES), now part of MWH.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Implementation of Sustainability Concepts in Environmental Engineering Curriculums John Woolschlager, Associate Professor and Chair Civil Engineering Department Saint Louis UniversityLong-established Environmental Engineering programs are historically rooted inSanitary Engineering curriculum (water and wastewater engineering) that wastypically a sub-specialty of Civil Engineering. Over time, EnvironmentalEngineering became more diverse, including topics in air pollution, groundwaterremediation, and hazardous waste management, reflecting the evolving areas ofpractice in the professional field. More recently, many Environmental Engineeringprograms have begun to incorporate sustainability principles into the curriculum,some even including the word “sustainability” in the program titles. The purposeof this paper is to examine the evolution in Environmental Engineering programsas principles of sustainability are incorporated into the curriculums. A national-level review of ABET accredited Civil and Environmental Engineering programsreveals that a significant number of program are using the word “sustainability” or“sustainable” in the program title, program objectives, and/or student learningoutcomes. However, use of these words often does not translate into asubstantially different curriculum from that of “traditional” EnvironmentalEngineering programs not emphasizing sustainability. This likely results fromperceived and real constraints of ABET accreditation or the often difficult task ofachieving major curriculum change in established departments. Programs that doshow a significant curriculum evolution vary greatly in how sustainability conceptsare incorporated into the programs. This variability likely exists due to ambiguityin the meaning of sustainability and how the concept of sustainability fits into moretraditional fields, such as Environmental Engineering.

Woolschlager, J. (2013, June), Implementation of Sustainability Concepts in Environmental Engineering Curriculumns Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19715

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: © 2013 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