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Long-term Impact on Environmental Attitudes and Knowledge Assessed over Three Semesters of an Environmental Engineering Sequence

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33070

Download Count

3

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Paper Authors

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Benjamin Michael Wallen P.E. United States Military Academy

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Benjamin Wallen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and obtained an M.S. from both the University of Missouri at Rolla in Geological Engineering and the University of Texas at Austin in Environmental Engineering. Most recently, he graduated with his Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He teaches Water Resources and Planning, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering Technologies.

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Nathaniel Sheehan P.E. United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2259-5653

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Nathaniel Sheehan is a Captain in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2010 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, and he earned an M.S. in Engineering with a focus on Sustainability from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2013. He teaches Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering Technologies, Physical and Chemical Treatment, and Advanced Individual Study I. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Delaware.

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Luke Plante United States Military Academy

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Luke Plante is a Captain in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2008 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and graduated from Columbia University with an M.S. in Environmental Engineering in 2016. He teaches Environmental Biological Systems, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering Technologies, Introduction to Environmental Engineering, Advanced Individual Study I-II, Biochemical Treatment, and Officership.

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Erick Martinez United States Military Academy

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Erick Martinez is a Captain in the United States Army and an Instructor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2007 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and recently graduated from the University of Florida with an M.E. in Environmental Engineering. He teaches Environmental Engineering for Community Development, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering Technologies.

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Jeffrey A. Starke P.E. Marquette University

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Jeffrey Starke is a retired United States Army Colonel who served as an Associate Professor at the United States Military Academy. He currently serves as a Professor of Practice and is the Executive Director for the Masters' Across Boundaries Graduate Engineering Program at Marquette University. COL(R) Starke specializes in environmental engineering with interests in drinking water, public health, and microbial-mediated processes to include renewable energy resources. COL(R) Starke has taught senior-level design courses in Physical and Chemical Processes, Biological Treatment Processes, and Solid and Hazardous Waste Technologies. COL(R) Starke is a registered Professional Engineer and is a member of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES).

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Abstract

The pedagogy employed in a three-course environmental engineering sequence is investigated to determine the efficacy of enabling long-term improvement of knowledge and attitudes toward the environment. These three courses incorporate concepts of the five grand challenges released by the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences and increase the breadth of knowledge for T-professionals. Previous studies of lengths from a few weeks to semester long courses evaluated the potential causality among various demographics and environmental knowledge and attitudes. The research presented herein contrasts and compares changes in environmental knowledge based upon a 12-question survey and changes in environmental attitude based upon a seven-question survey administered at the beginning and end of the environmental engineering sequence courses taught to over 200 students from a variety of disciplines. Survey results demonstrate that a positive increase (9.27%) in knowledge occurred from the start to the end of the first course and the elimination of statistical differences among numerous demographics such as sex and race. After 18 months of environmental education, an 8.6% increase in knowledge was retained compared to the initial knowledge where the female and non-white demographics increased the most but retained the least. Results regarding environmental attitudes suggest that a focus on learning about environmental issues decreased positive attitudes toward the environment, whereas focusing on solutions to environmental issues increased positive attitudes toward the environment. Evaluating changes or sustainment of improved environmental attitudes over three semesters demonstrates the potential for an environmental engineering education to have a multi-year impact on the values and environmental ethos of students across many disciplines.

Wallen, B. M., & Sheehan, N., & Plante, L., & Martinez, E., & Starke, J. A. (2019, June), Long-term Impact on Environmental Attitudes and Knowledge Assessed over Three Semesters of an Environmental Engineering Sequence Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33070

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