Asee peer logo

Integrating Sustainability Engineering into Second-Year Composition

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

A Focus on Non-Traditional Students and Non-Traditional Course Delivery Methods

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.778.1 - 24.778.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Connie Gomez Galveston College

visit author page

Dr. Gomez received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in the areas of computer aided tissue engineering and sustainability at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is currently a member of Galveston College in Galveston, TX, where she is developing a new engineering program.

visit author page

author page

Leslie Braniger Galveston College

Download Paper |


Integrating Sustainability Engineering into Second-Year CompositionCommunity colleges are currently facing several challenges, namely 1) increasing the number ofstudents successfully completing STEM degrees, 2) increasing the number of transfers betweencommunity colleges and four-year institutions in STEM majors, and 3) increasing the overalltechnical ability of the current workforce. As more community colleges offer engineering andengineering technology, they must also look for ways to increase student participation andretention within STEM and STEM-related fields that are feasible given cost and personnellimitations. One way our community college is attempting to address these issues is byintegrating sustainability engineering into a required second-year composition course.The course emphasizes strategies and techniques for developing research-based expository andpersuasive texts. Within this course, students are exposed to primary and secondary researchmethods, documentation of sources, critical reading and analysis of sources, and critical thinkingabout evidence and conclusions. In the past, this course has examined literature texts (shortstories and poetry) as the basis for student research. However, the combination of courseobjectives and range of topics, research, and viewpoints within sustainability engineeringprovides an opportunity to engage students in STEM topics while still delivering required skills.Naturally, changing this well-established course presented obstacles and trials, from studentregistration to curriculum development. This course is open to any student who is a STEMmajor, has an interest in any STEM field, or has a specific interest in sustainability. However,this meant that even our advisors needed some clarification as to the definitions of STEM andsustainability in order to register students that would benefit from this course. The course wastaught using a team-based approach, with one faculty member from English and one fromEngineering, combining both areas of expertise in the classroom. Additionally, there was a shiftfrom using MLA style to APA style citations. Furthermore, students were allowed to choosetheir own topic, such as Green Building or Bottled Water versus Tap Water, so that they couldtake ownership of their work and peak their interest in STEM topics, courses, and majors. Theeffectiveness of this course is based on both its ability to meet its learning objectives and itsability to engage students in sustainability topics, projects, and career choices. Both classroomdiscussions and major assignments served as the basis for course assessment and revision of thiscourse.

Gomez, C., & Braniger, L. (2014, June), Integrating Sustainability Engineering into Second-Year Composition Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20670

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: © 2014 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