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Learning From Native Cultures: A Cross Cultural Exchange

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Practice/Partnership/Program Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.849.1 - 9.849.11



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Paper Authors

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Amy Grommes

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


Raised awareness exists on the need to reform the actions of the earth’s inhabitants to maintain, sustain and increase the vitality of the world in which we live. The case for an environmentally conscience society which minimizes impact, reduces waste and decreases consumption has been made through research in life cycle analysis and projected consumption rates of natural resources. The question facing educators, engineers, and inhabitants of this planet remains: how are we addressing the need to embed this awareness among engineering students?

Traditionally, engineering programs educate students on technical information pertinent to each discipline, with limited regard to the impact of the surrounding environment or communities. The issue of environmental degradation gained popularity in the 1960s and continued throughout the 1970s. The engineering community responded by creating environmental engineering. Environmental engineering is a discipline dedicated to cleaning up the waste and pollution produced by society, and fellow engineers. The educational objective of environmental engineering curricula is to “…provide education in the prevention of pollution, and in monitoring, control and remediation of pollution sources on the Earth6.” The programs are “oriented around solving environmental problems… and remediation of hazardous contaminants, physical/chemical processes for contaminant removal as well as conventional water and wastewater treatment5.” The objective of environmental engineering is to minimize pollution and properly dispose of the waste. The very pollution and waste produced by the products of other engineering disciplines including, architectural, civil, chemical, structural, mechanical, electrical, industrial, and other technical design disciplines.

The authors propose an end to environmental education isolation and seek the incorporation of environmental principles into all engineering disciplines. Educators must seek a way to train socially and environmentally responsible engineers. To achieve this goal, engineering students must be introduced to principles in sustainability and armed with the inquiry skills needed to seek sustainable and environmentally sensitive solutions to engineering problems. In addition to technical expertise, it is the responsibility of the educators to provide students with the tools they will need if they are to act with social and environmental responsibility.

The World Class Engineer One version of the skill set described above is reflected in the characterization of a “World Class Engineer” as defined by The Leonhard Center’s External Advisory Board at Penn State University. Comprised of a broad cross-section of industry leaders, including professors, CEOs, and presidents of major engineering organizations, the board has worked over the last two years to define five categories characteristics of the “World Class Engineer.” The descriptions are as follows:

Aware of the world Engineers need to be sensitive to cultural differences, environmental concerns, and ethical principles. They need to understand market needs in both high and low-tech solutions. Solidly Grounded Engineering students need to be trained in the fundamentals of their disciplines, while retaining a historical perspective and an awareness of new advances and technologies in the field. Life time learning is an important theme.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Grommes, A. (2004, June), Learning From Native Cultures: A Cross Cultural Exchange Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13224

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