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The Role Of Industry In Supporting Education In Environmentally Responsible Engineering

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Capstone Courses II

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1327.1 - 11.1327.7



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Paper Authors


Andrew Borchers Kettering University

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Andrew Borchers, DBA is an associate professor of Information Systems at Kettering University. Prior to teaching, Andy spent 21 years working as an IT manager for GM and Electronic Data Systems. His academic interests include information technology, entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability. Andy serves on the editorial board of Information Resources Management Journal and is an associate editor of the Journal of Cases in IT.

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David Rinard Steelcase, Inc.

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Dave Rinard, M.S., is director of Corporate Environmental Performance for Steelcase, Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Dave is responsible for overseeing the company's environmental initiatives and implementing corporate environmental strategy. Dave currently serves on the board of directors of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and on the advisory boards of the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems, the Aquinas College Sustainable Business Program, and the Kettering University Industrial Ecology Program.

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Trevor Harding Kettering University

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Trevor Harding, Ph.D., is associate professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Kettering University where he teaches courses in engineering materials and manufacturing. Dr. Harding's research interests include wear phenomenon in orthopeadic implants, ethical development in engineering undergraduates, and pedagogical innovations in environmental education. Currently, Trevor serves on the ERM Division Board of Directors and on the Kettering University Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Advisory Board.

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Terri Lynch-Caris Kettering University

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Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, Ph.D., P.E., is an Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Kettering University. She serves as the Co-PI for the NSF project titled “Development of a Course in Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing for Undergraduates” and will team-teach the course once developed. Her areas of interest in teaching and research include ergonomics, statistics, and work design. She also serves as the treasurer for the Industrial Engineering Division of ASEE.

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

The Role of Industry in Supporting Education in Environmentally Responsible Engineering Abstract

Achievement of a sustainable future implies a collaborative effort between a variety of stakeholders including industry, government, and academia. We are traveling in unfamiliar waters where the course is not always clear and the goals are sometimes daunting. To develop the environmental wisdom we need to help us know the "right answers" we must bring together the knowledge we get from our academic pursuits with the experience we obtain through trial and error. Bringing together the academic world and the business world not only helps us solve the immediate engineering need, it more importantly builds a partnership that will produce greater lasting value through students (future employees) who are attuned to the market demands for improved environmental performance in both business practices and products.

This paper describes a new collaborative effort between Steelcase, Inc. and Kettering University that will prepare future engineers, managers, scientists, and policy makers for a workplace that places greater emphasis on conducting business within a framework of environmental and social responsibility. Since its founding in 1912, Steelcase, Inc. has approached its business from a "values driven" perspective focused on the underlying premise of how a responsible business should conduct itself. As such, Steelcase Inc. has been a leading company in promoting sustainable business practices both within the corporation and among a variety of other constituents. Kettering University (formerly GMI Engineering and Management Institute) has been preparing engineers and managers for the workforce since 1919, emphasizing the importance of leadership, integrity, and practical experience as the keys to success in the workplace. Together these organizations, along with other partners, are committed to demonstrating the practical need for enhanced education in issues of sustainability and social responsibility.

Funding for this project comes from the National Science Foundation DUE-0511322.


Industry more than ever is facing challenges in the globally competitive marketplace. Thomas Friedman in his book The World Is Flat [1] talks about the forces that are changing the competitive landscape and the need for business and society to innovate more than ever to stay competitive. Friedman also highlights the need for increased learning and skill development as a way to survive in this rapidly changing and competitive climate.

Friedman cites statistics showing a significant decline in US students pursuing science and engineering educations. In a New York Times article [2] Friedman quotes a joint report of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine that says: “Having reviewed the trends in the United States and abroad, the committee is deeply concerned that the scientific and technical building blocks of our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength. We are worried about the future prosperity of the United States. We fear the abruptness with which a lead in science and

Borchers, A., & Rinard, D., & Harding, T., & Lynch-Caris, T. (2006, June), The Role Of Industry In Supporting Education In Environmentally Responsible Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--767

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