June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.772.1 - 15.772.7
Integrating Social Justice Ideas into a Numerical Methods Course in Bioengineering
A newly developed course introduces students to the analytical and numerical techniques that will be utilized in subsequent bioengineering courses to analyze the behavior of complex systems. The illustrative case studies in the form of course modules employed in this course have as a focus various issues related to questions of social justice and include wealth distribution, developing a social justice index, exploring the costs of health care in the United States and examining poverty trends in the United States and around the world.
The main educational objective of the bioengineering department at Binghamton University is to provide students with an understanding of living systems as complex systems, and to develop in the student both the understanding of, and confidence in working with, complex systems, whether biologic, or biomimetic. From the department’s perspective, the ability to exploit new opportunities and solve problems within the domain of complex systems will be the hallmark of successful engineers in the 21st century. Towards this goal and throughout the program, there is an explicit emphasis on the use of Mathematica in the solution of problems involving iteration, differentiation, integration, solution to ODE and PE, matrix manipulation, and vector algebra.
The present course aims to develop numerical and modeling skills through a consideration of issues related to social justice. The particular issues which have been integrated into this required sophomore level course include distribution of wealth, the costs and tradeoff associated with health care, the development of a social justice index (SJI) analogous to an environmental quality index and recent poverty levels and trends in the United States and around the world.
The question of social justice is placed in the broader context of sustainability. At the outset of the course, guided discussions were accomplished with the focus being to introduce students to the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development. Since the 1980s sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth and this has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development, that of the Brundtland Commission1 of the United Nations:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Continuing, “sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs
Catalano, G., & Baillie, C., & Riley, D., & Nieusma, D., & Byrne, C., & Bailey, M., & Haralampides, K. (2010, June), Integrating Social Justice Ideas Into A Numerical Methods Course In Bioengineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16724
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