June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1029.1 - 26.1029.11
Introducing Sustainability Design and Assessment Methods into the Civil Engineering CurriculumThe American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) defines sustainability as “a set ofenvironmental, economic and social conditions in which all of society has the capacity andopportunity to maintain and improve its quality of life indefinitely without degrading thequantity, quality or availability of natural, economic and social resources”. While theimportance of sustainability is well recognized by professionals and academics alike, CivilEngineering curricula do not typically offer courses covering sustainability design principles andassessment methodologies. To bridge this gap, this paper discusses the development and pilottesting of a new course on Sustainability Design and Rating Systems for upper levelundergraduate and master level civil engineering graduate students.The course development was the result of close and productive collaboration between onetransportation and one environmental engineering faculty member who co-taught the course pilotin the Fall 2014. This approach can set an example of the benefits of multidisciplinary courseinstruction that can foster interaction among traditional civil engineering disciplines for thebenefit of the students. The pilot course focused of sustainable transportation and livable streets,transportation planning and site design for sustainable transportation, sustainability ratingsystems for neighborhoods and infrastructure, brownfield/greyfield redevelopment options, andsustainability and ethics. The objective was to educate the future engineering workforce aboutthe basic principles for sustainable design and evaluation methods, in an effort to raise awarenessand develop expertise on sustainable design options and associated benefits.First, the paper discusses the importance of sustainable engineering course offerings to the civilengineering community and highlights potential societal, health, economic, and environmentalbenefits. Then it summarizes the course development philosophy and delivery approach. As partof the discussion, it highlights instructional technology methods (such as use of YouTube clips,eBooks and other online study resources) adopted in the pilot offering for keeping studentsengaged in a field that is continuously evolving. Interactions between students and professionalpractitioners (through guest speaker seminars featuring sustainability experts, field trips, andhands-on team projects) are further explored. The paper also summarizes student feedback on thepilot course content and delivery methods and discusses opportunities for adaptation ofeducational modules developed for this pilot course offering into short courses, seminars, andwebinars.The work presented in this paper demonstrates a successful integration of sustainability conceptswithin civil engineering curricula, and co-curricular activities and is expected to open newavenues for the dissemination of information on sustainable community design options toengineering students, professionals, researchers and the general public.
Sisiopiku, V., & Peters, R. W., & Ramadan, O. E. M. (2015, June), Introducing Sustainability into the Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24366
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