June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.943.1 - 23.943.12
An interdisciplinary team at the University of ________ is developing an undergraduatecourse that will be devoted to methods and techniques to appropriately conduct research inthe field of sustainability. Research carried out in sustainability is complex due to itsinterdisciplinary nature within engineering and between engineering and other STEMand/or non-STEM disciplines. Furthermore, research methods span from strictlyquantitative to more qualitative extremes adding to the complexity. Academic rigor andproper student preparation are primary motives to accompany the sustainability efforts thatare expanding at the University of ________ with the addition of both a university-wideundergraduate minor and a graduate certificate in sustainability. Efforts to develop thiscourse are further motivated by the university’s commitment to creating a bachelor’s degreein sustainability. Our team aims to complement this structural improvement tosustainability by developing an engaging research methods course for undergraduatestudents in the program.From our academic experience and initial literature review, it is apparent that very littlework has been done to specifically tailor current methods of inquiry to sustainability, oremerge with new ones that are more fitting. Instead, we witness a de facto reliance ontraditional approaches to solve problems that are fundamentally different due to theirmultidisciplinary nature. As a result, research training is lacking not only in thesustainability program, but for undergraduates, including engineering students, as a whole.The ability to conduct research is usually learned through initiation with continued practiceand builds from a foundation of understanding the different approaches that are available.For sustainability, there is an inherent interdisciplinarity that encourages exposure to a widearray of techniques and tools. Thus, this research methods course is constructed to presentthe class with a wealth of conceptualized procedures, and also, case studies to learn fromexemplars of sustainability research. Collaboration from faculty with different backgroundsis further expanded by enlisting the participation of the University of ________Sustainability Curriculum Steering Committee members to review and assess the veracity ofthe proposed methods. This paper shares the outcome of this new course developmentaimed at preparing undergraduate students, including engineers, to carry out sustainabilityresearch and further prepare them for graduate studies.
Needy, K. L., & MESSADI, T., & Kester, J. H. (2013, June), On the Development of an Undergraduate Course on Sustainability Research Methods Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22328
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