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Integrating Sustainability into Systems Engineering Curriculum

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Developing Systems Engineering Curriculum, Part II

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.916.1 - 22.916.18



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Paper Authors


Agnes Galambosi University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Agnes Galambosi has a Ph.D. in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She is currently employed at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte teaching several engineering courses.

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Ertunga C. Ozelkan University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Ertunga C. Ozelkan, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Engineering Management and the Associate Director of the Center for Lean Logistics and Engineered Systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Before joining academia, Dr. Ozelkan worked for i2 Technologies, a leading supply chain software vendor and for Tefen USA, a systems design and industrial engineering consulting firm. Dr. Ozelkan holds a Ph.D. degree in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona. He teaches courses on supply chain management, lean systems, decision analysis, and systems design and optimization. His current research interests are the modeling of supply chains and production planning systems, and their applications in different industries.

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Integrating Sustainability into Systems Engineering CurriculumAbstract “We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” This quote,often referred to as an ancient Native American Indian proverb, summarizes the principle ofsustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of futuregenerations to meet their own needs (Bruntland). The importance of sustainability becomes clearas we try to meet the constantly increasing needs of our society with limited resources on Earth.Systems Engineers can play a very important role in this, that is why, at the Systems Engineeringand Engineering Management Department, we are looking for ways to incorporate sustainabilityinto the curriculum.The purpose of this study is to provide a road-map for Systems Engineering programs forcurriculum design to incorporate sustainability into their curriculum. As part of this process, ourspecific objectives are 1) to identify topics, 2) courses and levels of courses where sustainabilityand sustainable design can be taught 3) while also summarizing sustainability curriculumpractices at different institutions.Some of the sustainability topics that are considered in this research are life cycle assessment,alternative energy sources, principles of sustainability, greenhouse gases, carbon footprint,energy audits, design for sustainability, managing systems based on triple bottom line(environment, economy and society), reverse logistics, and sustainability metrics for continuousimprovement. For courses and their levels, we are considering the options of either creating anew course entirely dedicated to sustainable system design and/or hosting relevant topics insome of the relevant existing courses. Some of these potential courses being evaluated forsustainability integration include SEGR 2101 (System Engineering Concepts), SEGR 3101(System Design and Deployment), SEGR 4131 (Product and Process Design). Our preliminaryfindings based on benchmarking of other programs indicate that while some engineering andbusiness fields offer a more extensive sustainability-related curriculum, there is still a growthopportunity for systems engineering programs in the area of sustainability and sustainabledesign.

Galambosi, A., & Ozelkan, E. C. (2011, June), Integrating Sustainability into Systems Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18247

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