Asee peer logo

Transdisciplinary Green Engineering Education At San Jose State University

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Sustainability and Environmental Issues

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1277.1 - 14.1277.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Belle Wei San Jose State University

visit author page

Dr. Belle Wei was appointed dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at SJSU in 2002. With nearly 5,000 students, the college is the largest provider of engineers to Silicon Valley companies and has consistently received top ranking among the nation’s engineering schools offering undergraduate and master’s-level programs. Dean Wei has led the college in developing its vision to educate new engineers, who are technically excellent, broadly educated, and socially responsible.

visit author page


Patricia Backer San Jose State University

visit author page

Dr. Patricia Backer is Director of General Engineering in the College of Engineering at SJSU where she is responsible for coordinating the College’s efforts in green engineering. As the co-author of the book Contemporary Technology she has conducted research for the past ten years about the interactions of technology and society.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Transdisciplinary Green Engineering Education at San José State University


Climate change is a pressing issue for the world today. There are an increasing number of technological by-products posing a threat to the stability and quality of the world environment. According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming appears to be accelerating, resulting in higher increases in global temperature and higher rises in the sea level. To effectively address this problem, there is a need for transdisciplinary, transnational approaches, reflecting the complexity of the problem and the interdependence of people’s lives around the world. Consequently, the Davidson College of Engineering at San José State University (SJSU) has programmatically encouraged and supported the development of new green engineering curriculum and research, collaborating with Silicon Valley companies, many of which are at the forefront of green technologies. At the university level, the college has spearheaded a university-wide curriculum that brings together students from all seven colleges of the university to develop a deep understanding of the different aspects of climate change solutions: economic, political, moral, aesthetic, and technological. Furthermore, to augment student learning with a global perspective, the college sponsored the production of a “global green” documentary that showcases the collaborative efforts of people in both the U.S. and China. These efforts, among other initiatives, highlight a systematic theme of sustainable and green engineering at SJSU.

1. Introduction

Climate change has emerged as the biggest problem facing humanity in the 21st century. Climate change caused by fossil fuel use has damaged and, if unabated, will continue to damage the environment upon which human beings depend for sustaining life. Compounding this problem is the rapidly growing demand for fossil fuel, brought upon by an expanding global economy and a growing world population.

Given the dire consequences of climate change, the Davidson College of Engineering (CoE) at SJSU has identified green and sustainability engineering as the overarching theme for focused development. This theme exemplifies the college’s vision of educating engineers to improve the world through innovative applications of engineering knowledge and skills. In other words, the College emphasizes the development of innovative multidisciplinary solutions to pressing human problems, and fosters students’ moral commitment to use their education in a way that benefits not only themselves, but also the society and the world.

Besides exemplifying the college’s vision, the field of green and sustainability engineering promises career opportunities for engineering graduates. For instance, the three largest cities in the San Francisco-San Jose Metropolitan area have recently established the Climate Change Compact1. The compact has ten goals that include reducing the gasoline usage by 3% from 2008 to 2013 as well as increasing the number of electric cars. Another goal is to place 20,000 new graduates in green technology jobs. Given these goals, it is important that SJSU contribute not

Wei, B., & Backer, P. (2009, June), Transdisciplinary Green Engineering Education At San Jose State University Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4871

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015