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Integrating Sustainability Grand Challenges and Experiential Learning into Engineering Curricula: A TUES2 Collaborative Research Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.779.1 - 24.779.3



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Paper Authors

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Claire L. A. Dancz Arizona State University Orcid 16x16


Melissa M. Bilec University of Pittsburgh

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Dr. Bilec is an assistant professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Bilec’s research program focuses on sustainable healthcare, the built environment, and life cycle assessment. She is interested in improving the overall environmental performance of buildings while connecting the occupants in a more thoughtful manner. She is the Principal Investigator in a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research project, NSF EFRI-Barriers, Understanding, Integration – Life cycle Development (BUILD). She has worked in the sustainable engineering arena since 2004. As the assistant director of education outreach in the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Pitt’s center for green design, she translates research to community outreach programs and develops sustainable engineering programs for K-12 education.

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Elizabeth A. Adams Mesa Community College

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Mikhail Chester Arizona State University


Kristen Parrish Arizona State University

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Kristen Parrish is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU). Kristen’s work focuses on integrating energy efficiency measures into building design, construction, and operations processes. Specifically, she is interested in novel design processes that financially and technically facilitate energy-efficient buildings. Her work also explores how principles of lean manufacturing facilitate energy-efficiency in the commercial building industry. Another research interest of Kristen’s is engineering education, where she explores how project- and experience-based learning foster better understanding of engineering and management principles. Prior to joining ASU, Kristen was at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-11) and then a Scientific Engineering Associate (2011-2012) in the Building Technologies and Urban Systems Department. She worked in the Commercial Buildings group, developing energy efficiency programs and researching technical and non-technical barriers to energy efficiency in the buildings industry. She has a background in collaborative design and integrated project delivery. She holds a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Civil Engineering Systems from University of California Berkeley.

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Thomas P. Seager Arizona State University

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Associate Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and Director of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Decision Sciences (SEEDS) studio.

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Amy E. Landis Arizona State University

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Dr. Landis joined ASU in January 2012 as an Associate Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. She began her career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, after having obtained her PhD in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Thomas L. Theis.

Dr. Landis’ research focuses on Sustainable Renewable Biomaterials and she is highly engaged in Innovations in Engineering Education. Learn more at

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Integrating Sustainability Grand Challenges and Experiential Learning into Engineering Curricula: a TUES2 collaborative research projectThe next generation of engineering professionals must be prepared to solve complex andmultidisciplinary problems in a sustainable and global context. To achieve this we musttransform higher education, creating institutions that are committed to excellence, access andimpact where students and faculty link to local and regional issues and undertake appliedsustainability challenges that impact the social, environmental, and economic evolution of thenation. This Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, andMathematics (TUES2) project begins to evaluate the ways in which universities can integrate theNational Academy of Engineering’s grand challenges and sustainability into curricula. Twostrategies are being evaluated, herein termed the stand-alone course method, and the modulemethod. In the stand-alone course method, engineering programs establish one or two distinct,stand-alone courses that address sustainability grand challenges in depth. In the module method,engineering programs integrate sustainability grand challenges throughout a host of existingcourses. We discuss the development of ready-made, stand-alone sustainability courses andready-made, sustainability-themed modules that employ experiential learning and evaluate thetwo different methods of integrating grand challenges into curricula by implementing andmonitoring the strategies in five different engineering programs, from Research-ExtensiveUniversities to Community Colleges. The collaborating institutions include the University ofPittsburgh, Community College of Allegheny College (located in PA), Arizona State University,Mesa Community College (located in AZ), and Laney College (located in CA). This postersummarizes the materials for three stand-alone courses and fourteen modules that are beingevaluated in our TUES2. In addition, we summarize the assessments that will be utilized withinour TUES2, including a longitudinal evaluation of students matriculating through fiveengineering programs as well as assessments for stand-alone classes and modules. Ultimately,we aim to develop succinct recommendations for other universities to best integratesustainability and systems thinking into engineering curricula. This work is supported by theNational Science Foundation Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES) Type 2program- DUE Award Nos 1323719 and 1323190.

Dancz, C. L. A., & Bilec, M. M., & Adams, E. A., & Chester, M., & Parrish, K., & Seager, T. P., & Landis, A. E. (2014, June), Integrating Sustainability Grand Challenges and Experiential Learning into Engineering Curricula: A TUES2 Collaborative Research Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20671

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