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Introducing Global Stewardship To Engineering Students In The Arab World: The Petroleum Institute's Steps Program Focuses On Sustainability

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Engineering Education in the Arab World / Mid-East Region

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.968.1 - 12.968.11



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Paper Authors


Suzanne Scott The Petroleum Institute

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Dr. Suzanne W. Scott is an Assistant Professor in the STEPS Program (Strategies for Team-Based Engineering Problem Solving) at the Petroleum Institute. She is a former Coordinator of the EPICS (Engineering Practices Introductory Course Sequence) Program at the Colorado School of Mines under the directorship of Dr. Robert Knecht. Her research interests include engineering education in the Arab world and educating engineers for global practice.

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Jamal Ahmad The Petroleum Institute

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Dr. Jamal Ahmad is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the Petroleum Institute of Abu Dhabi. Prior to this he was an associate professor of manufacturing engineering at Wichita State University. Dr. Ahmad teaches freshman design courses in addition to typical mechanical engineering curriculum.
His research interests include manufacturing of composites, applications of composite materials in the aerospace and oil-gas industries and teaching engineering design.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Introducing Global Stewardship To Engineering Students in the Arab World


The STEPS Program (Strategies for Engineering Problem Solving) at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi introduces second-year student design teams to authentic engineering problem solving in the 21st century, with special emphasis on environmental and humanitarian issues facing engineers in both our local and broader global communities. The responsibilities of professional global engineers is stressed, including stewardship of our planet and its resources; the health, safety, and welfare of its inhabitants; engineering ethics, and intercultural communication. Student teams are mentored through an “experience” of engineering design methodology that incorporates creativity and inventiveness, technical thinking, decision-making, communications skills, and graphical demonstration.

The authors wanted to know what our Arab engineering students knew about sustainability. What were their perceptions about their responsibilities as engineers in the 21st century? Did they care? What’s being done to foster awareness in this part of the world? Should environmental sustainability and global stewardship be at the core of our engineering design program? How could we introduce our students to humanitarian engineering? The answers to these questions along with data collected over two semesters are discussed in this paper.

The Fall 2006 STEPS II project involved the development of a Plastics Recycling Plan for the Petroleum Institute, with applications locally and globally. The project exposed students to the concept of reusable energy resources, the societal impact of recycling, environmental issues in engineering design, data collection and analysis, manufacturing processes, safety, modeling techniques, graphics communication as well as economic considerations. At the beginning of the course our students were uneducated about the seriousness of the plastics waste problem, relatively unaware of what was happening at the PI and in their community with regard to recycling, and doubtful that their personal efforts could produce an innovative and effective solution to a serious global dilemma. They had limited vision with regard to researching the topic, and were perplexed by the open-ended nature of the project. Throughout the semester the students gained confidence in their abilities as global citizens and engineers to help solve global problems facing their generation and future generations. They gradually learned how to think “outside the box” about possible solutions, and were excited about the possibility of real implementation of their ideas in the real world. The students “footwork” and visibility on campus and in the community at large was an important first step in building public awareness. Details of the experience the students went through in this project and their interactions with the community and the PI administration are discussed in this article.

The Petroleum Institute’s STEPS Program: The Challenge of Translating Western Models into Effective Curricula in the Arab World

The STEPS Program (Strategies for Team-Based Engineering Problem-Solving) is designed to introduce engineering students at the Petroleum Institute to the theoretical and intellectual concepts as well as the practical methods used in engineering design in an integrated two

Scott, S., & Ahmad, J. (2007, June), Introducing Global Stewardship To Engineering Students In The Arab World: The Petroleum Institute's Steps Program Focuses On Sustainability Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1998

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