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“It’s Just Good Engineering” – One Case of Curricular Evolution of Sustainable Design

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

The Designer of 2020: Innovations in Teaching Design

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1504.1 - 25.1504.9



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Paper Authors


Kevin G. Sutterer Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Kevin Sutterer is professor and Head of civil engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering at the University of Missour, Rolla, a second M.S. in civil engineering at Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology. Although his specialization is geotechnical engineering, he has consulted in environmental and structural engineering, as well, and currently teaches courses in geotechnical and structural engineering. Sutterer was a geotechnical consultant with Soil Consultants, Inc. of St. Peters, Mo., from 1984-1988. He also served as Director of Engineering Services for SCI Environmental of Chesterfield, Mo., from 1988-1989 before leaving practice to pursue his Ph.D. Sutterer was an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky from 1993-1998, and has been a faculty member at Rose-Hulman since then. Sutterer has served the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE for nearly 12 years and was Division Chair in 2010-11. He has also served on numerous ASCE committees. In addition to receiving numerous teaching awards over the years, he was selected by the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineering and the National Society of Professional Engineers as their 1996 Young Engineer of the Year.

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Jennifer Mueller PE P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Michael Robinson P.E. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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“It’s Just Good Engineering” – One Case of Curricular Evolution of Sustainable DesignAbstractLike most all civil engineering programs, elements of sustainable design have been a part of thelearning in (school name’s) Department of Civil Engineering for scores of years. However, theterm “sustainable” first appeared in course lesson plans in 2002. Assessment of student learningabout application of sustainable design principles became a specific criterion of the engineeringimpact student outcome in the department’s assessment plan in 2008.Results of student work assessment presented in the paper demonstrate that, although studentscould reflect thoughtfully on sustainability principles, they struggled to demonstrate rational,comprehensive application of these principles to the design process. The evidence suggested adifferent approach to learning sustainable design was needed. Dialogue with practitioners andindustry experts reminded the department that sustainable design is just “good engineering” thathas been present in the curriculum for decades. With practitioners’ help, the department deviseda plan for learning sustainable design across the curriculum.The paper provides the results of assessment of student learning about sustainable designprinciples and processes, a simple model for learning sustainable design across the curriculum,and work-in-progress reflection on early findings of the curriculum revision.

Sutterer, K. G., & Mueller, J., & Robinson, M. (2012, June), “It’s Just Good Engineering” – One Case of Curricular Evolution of Sustainable Design Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20775

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