Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Incorporating Sustainable Development Fundamentals in the First-year Engineering Program

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Cornucopia #1

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jorge R. Lara Texas A&M University

visit author page

Dr. Jorge R. Lara, Texas A&M University

Dr. Lara is an Instructional Associate Professor of Engineering at Texas A&M University affiliated to the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation and the First-Year Engineering Program of the College of Engineering. Dr. Lara received his PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering in 2005 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2003 from Texas A&M University. He held a Post- doctoral fellowship in the Chemical Engineering Department in Texas A&M University. He has served as the Energy Program Manager of the Texas A&M University System, which is composed of 20 campuses across the state of Texas. Dr. Lara serves as journal article reviewer for The International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer (Elsevier), Desalination (Elsevier), Desalination and Water Treatment (Elsevier), and The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering (John Wiley). His research interests are engineering education in sustainable development, vapor compression desalination, reclaiming produced water in oil fields, modeling simulation and optimization of energy systems, energy and water supply chain, energy use, conservation and lighting technologies for buildings, communications for energy systems, water use in hydraulic fracturing, environmental impacts of energy production, turbomachinery for energy use and its reliability.

visit author page


Mark Weichold Texas A&M University

visit author page

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, Regents Professor and Halliburton Engineering Global Programs Professor, is an electrical engineer and has worked for General Dynamics Ft. Worth Division, Motorola in Austin, TX and the U.S. Army Electronic Technology and Devices Laboratory in Ft. Monmouth, NJ. He joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Texas A&M University in 1982 and now holds the rank of Professor.

In January 2007, he became Dean and CEO of Texas A&M University’s branch campus in Doha, Qatar.
After completing nine years as the Dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, he returned to College Station to assume the role of Senior Associate Dean in the College of Engineering.

He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a member of the American Physical Society, an ABET program evaluator, and a licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas. In 2013, he was awarded the Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah International Energy Award for ‘Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Education’.

visit author page


Patrick Linke Texas A&M University at Qatar

visit author page

Dr. Patrick Linke is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Chair of the Chemical Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Qatar. Dr. Linke also serves as the Executive Director of the Office of Graduate Studies. He is the holder of the Qatar Shell Professorship for Energy and Environment.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Abstract. Traditionally, first year engineering programs teach freshmen students the engineering fundamentals that will help them succeed in more advanced and specialized engineering courses. In this work-in-progress paper, the authors present the development of an instrument to measure sustainable development literacy in first year engineering students, and based on the outcomes of the survey, implement a strategy to train freshman-engineering students on the fundamentals of sustainable development. Since the United Nations Conference Declaration in the Human Environment in 1972, and the subsequent Declaration of Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the topic of Education in Sustainable Development has become increasingly important. In further events, The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), called for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development from 2005 to 2015. This worldwide reflection is creating a new engineering education culture. Engineering educators are observing significant shifts in societal expectations of the engineering profession to help address immediate and longer-term sustainable development challenges. The World Commission on Environment and Development defined in 1987 sustainable development as “the technology development that meets the needs of the present for people without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own technological needs”. Society, economy and environment are the three fundamental dimensions of sustainable development. This work-in-progress paper studies the process to introduce the sustainable development fundamentals in first year engineering programs. Embedding sustainable development thinking in design thinking incorporates new mentalities in engineering design towards a societal commitment to find an optimal balance of the fundamental dimensions of sustainable development. Additionally, systems thinking is seen as a powerful tool to help incorporate multidimensional analysis with complex interactions between the three fundamental dimensions in sustainable development. An assessment of this technique performed on a large body of first year engineering students is analyzed for future actions to improve the questionnaire, including suggestions from industry, academia and different social representative groups. The assessment shows the effectiveness of the pedagogical technique used.

Lara, J. R., & Weichold, M., & Linke, P. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Incorporating Sustainable Development Fundamentals in the First-year Engineering Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35651

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: © 2020 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