Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
As a growing population makes increasing demands on Earth’s limited resources, leaders across all disciplines must possess fundamental environmental knowledge to understand the interconnectedness of people and the global biosphere, as well as the attitudes which foster environmental an environmental ethic. We examined the ability of a semester-long course in environmental engineering education to increase students’ environmental knowledge and shape the attitudes which promote this ethic. We evaluated students’ knowledge and attitudes from the start to the end of the course according to their gender and racial identity, parents’ educational attainment, hometown population, and program of study. Students’ overall scores on “knowledge surveys” increased from 81.14% ± 1.46% at the start of the course to 89.67% ± 2.03% at the end of the course. While we observed differences in baseline knowledge by gender and racial identity, neither of these affected how much students’ knowledge increased throughout the course. Nor was students’ hometown population a significant factor in either baseline knowledge or increased knowledge by the end of the course. Father’s educational attainment was not a significant factor either. However, mother’s educational attainment was a significant factor in how much students learned if their mother had less than a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree. Whether the student was enrolled in a STEM field of study or not was not a significant factor in students’ baseline knowledge; however non-STEM students’ scored higher on knowledge surveys than their peers enrolled in a STEM field. Students’ attitudes were also surveyed at the start and end of the semester. Generally, their attitudes became more positive toward the environment, more confident in our ability to employ technologies to reduce our impact on the environment, and they felt more strongly about the need for continuing environmental education to promote environmental stewardship.
Ouellette, C. M., & Plante, L. T., & Martinez, E., & Wallen, B. M., & Starke, J. A. (2018, June), Informing an Environmental Ethic in Future Leaders Through an Environmental Engineering Sequence Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30661
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