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The Theatre of Humanitarian Engineering

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Integrating Liberal Education and Engineering

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29015

Download Count

101

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Paper Authors

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David DiBiasio Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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David DiBiasio is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Department Head of ChE at WPI. He received his ChE degrees from Purdue University, worked for the DuPont Co, and has been at WPI since 1980. His current interests are in educational research: the process of student learning, international engineering education, and educational assessment. Collaboration with two colleagues resulted in being awarded the 2001 William Corcoran Award from Chemical Engineering Education. He served as 2004 chair of the ASEE ChE Division, has served as an ABET program evaluator and on the AIChE/ABET Education & Accreditation Committee. He has also served as Assessment Coordinator in WPI’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and as Director of WPI’s Washington DC Project Center. He was secretary/treasurer of the new Education Division of AIChE. In 2009 he was awarded the rank of Fellow in the ASEE, and in 2013 was awarded the rank of Fellow in AIChE.

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Paula Quinn Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Through her role as Associate Director for the Center for Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Paula Quinn works to improve student learning in higher education by supporting faculty and staff at WPI and at other institutions to advance work on project-based learning. She believes project-based learning holds significant potential for increasing the diversity of students who succeed in college and who persist in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and she views her work with the Center as contributing to education reform from the inside out. She holds an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Clark University and a B.A. in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her background includes working in the field of education evaluation, where she focused primarily on the areas of project-based learning; STEM; pre-literacy and literacy; student life; learning communities; and professional development. She has worked on projects whose funding sources have included the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education.

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Kristin Boudreau Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Kristin Boudreau is the Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Head of the Department of Humanities and Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A scholar of nineteenth-century American literature, in recent years she has turned her attention to transforming engineering education by contextualizing engineering challenges in their historical, cultural, geographic and political settings. Recent publications in this field include “To See the World Anew: Learning Engineering Through a Humanistic Lens” in Engineering Studies 2015 and “A Game-Based Approach to Information Literacy and Engineering in Context” (with Laura Hanlan) in Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education Conference 2015. A classroom game she developed with students and colleagues at WPI, “Humanitarian Engineering Past and Present: Worcester’s Sewage Problem at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” was chosen by the National Academy of Engineering as an “Exemplary Engineering Ethics Activity” that prepares students for “ethical practice, research, or leadership in engineering.”

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Laura A. Robinson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Lead Research & Instruction Librarian

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John M. Sullivan Jr Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Professor John Sullivan joined WPI in 1987. He has had continuous external research funding from 1988 thru 2013. He has graduated (and supported) more than 75 MS and PhD graduate students. He has served as the ME Department Head and in 2012 was elected Secretary of the Faculty through 2015. Prof. Sullivan has always maintained a full teaching load. He strongly supports the WPI project-based undergraduate philosophy.

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John Bergendahl Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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John Bergendahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has six years experience as a practicing engineer in industry, and holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering; all from the University of Connecticut. His recent research efforts are primarily directed at investigating novel treatment methods for emerging contaminants, and the development of systems and methods to sustainably treat water and wastewater.

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Leslie Dodson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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Abstract

The Theatre of Humanitarian Engineering

An experimental role-playing course designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from engineering and the humanities puts students imaginatively into a complex nineteenth-century context as they consider how to provide a waste management solution for an expanding urban population. This role-playing game (RPG) puts students in the roles of actual people living in a turn-of-the-century industrial city in central Massachusetts. While immersing themselves in the roles of engineers, industrialists, elected officials, workers, scientists, public health officials, inventors, and city residents, students learn and practice engineering concepts (engineering design, stakeholder analysis, mass balance, sewage treatment, material properties and selection, sewage properties and conveyance, statics and stress, filtration and chemical precipitation, and so on). These engineering concepts are not abstracted from social, political, and economic considerations. Rather, engineering is imbued with social context. The RPG offers students opportunities to reflect on economic, geographical, economic, and philosophical issues while learning the technical skills they need to make informed decisions to address the needs of a rapidly expanding population.

DiBiasio, D., & Quinn, P., & Boudreau, K., & Robinson, L. A., & Sullivan, J. M., & Bergendahl, J., & Dodson, L. (2017, June), The Theatre of Humanitarian Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29015

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