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Interdisciplinary Sustainability Design and Development Education: Research, Development, and Discovery

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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

Assessing Students and Programs

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.945.1 - 22.945.14



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Paper Authors


Ron Scozzari University of Wisconsin, Stout

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Ronald Scozzari is an assistant Professor of engineering graphics, CAD and Sustainability Design and Development at the University of Wisconsin - Stout campus. He brings 23 years of corporate technical training and development experience to his position and is pursuing a terminal degree in Education Leadership and Management.

Jennifer Astwood is an assistant professor of industrial design at the University of Wisconsin - Stout. She earned her M.F.A. Industrial Design from the University of Illinois.

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Jennifer Astwood University of Wisconsin, Stout

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Jennifer Astwood is Assistant Professor of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin, Stout. Her area of focus is industrial design.

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Interdisciplinary Sustainability Design and Development Education: Research, Development and DiscoveryThe paper will describe our experience in solving pedagogical and curricular challenges inteaching design and development methods in producing a sustainable product to junior andsenior level students within an interdisciplinary education environment.Industrial designers apply specific problem-solving processes to develop ideas. Classmates andcolleagues inexperienced with design are unfamiliar with this style of development, such assketching ideas, making mock-ups, producing engineering drawings and illustrative graphics,creating models of a project, and problem solving methodologies applied. A specific area ofdifficulty experienced by many students in this environment is honest verbal and written critiqueof ideas for fear of criticism. The critique process is particularly challenging, as students fromother disciplines are often afraid to receive and give criticism of their own and their peers' work.Our experience has been that it deters colleagues and classmates from creating and challengingeach other to come up with innovative ideas.To more fully appreciate the design process and its relationship to sustainability, incorporatingan international travel experience was provided. Multi-disciplinary groups explored andcompared cultures, business practices, technologies, design methods, and sustainable products ofScandinavia, creating a profound impact in their learning experience.This paper will introduce the challenges of creating a product within a multi-disciplinary groupin the academic environment. Exposing classmates and colleagues to the industrial designproblem solving process provided the opportunity for learners to collaborate with their peersoutside their comfort zone. While challenges are always present in working within a multi-disciplinary environment, individuals focused toward a common goal can come together tocreate a viable sustainable product.The consensus of students, faculty and administrators is that introducing a multi-disciplinarylearning model provides learners with deeper and broader perspectives in meeting the needs ofthe project parameters. The application of this methodology has fostered increased problemsolving skills and respect for others’ perspectives through collaboration between students ofunique disciplines and skills.Program outcomes will be presented, based on learning experiences from experimentation andresearch of learning pedagogy, resulting in enhancements in course design and delivery causingincreased learning outcomes.

Scozzari, R., & Astwood, J. (2011, June), Interdisciplinary Sustainability Design and Development Education: Research, Development, and Discovery Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18308

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