Integrating sustainability grand challenges and experiential learning into engineering curricula: Years 1 through 3

Claire L A Dancz, Kevin J. Ketchman, Rebekah Burke, Roksana Mahmud, Melissa M. Bilec, Kristen Parrish, Elizabeth A. Adams, Braden Allenby, Amy E. Landis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Today's complex global problems necessitate engineering solutions that not only consider sustainability but solutions founded on principles of sustainability to ensure the needs of today can be met tomorrow. Engineering educators face a difficult task of training students with both technical competencies and sustainability consciousness to tackle 21st century challenges. Two successful models for implementing sustainability tenets into engineering curricula have emerged in practice and in literature: course-based and modular-based models. Engineering programs implement the course-based model by establishing one to two distinct courses designed to address sustainability grand challenges in depth. Conversely, engineering programs implement the modular-based model by integrating sustainability grand challenges throughout a host of existing courses and weave student exposure throughout the curriculum via ready-made modules. The goal of this TUES 2 project is to evaluate the two models for implementing sustainability and to provide succinct recommendations and lessons learned for engineering programs tasked with integrating sustainability into their curricula. We are implementing and monitoring these two strategies in seven different engineering programs, including research universities: Arizona State University (located in Tempe, Arizona), University of Pittsburgh (located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and community colleges: Mesa Community College (located in Mesa, Arizona), Laney College (located in Oakland, California), and Community College of Allegheny County (located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). This paper summarizes the progress and accomplishments during years one through three of this four-year collaborative TUES 2 research project. We review the development of stand-alone sustainability courses and sustainability themed modules that employ experiential and active learning developed in Year 1. In addition, we review Year 2 dialogues and critical collaborations that led to the establishment of a faculty network to explore both the stand-alone course and modular methods. We also present results from ongoing research to assess student-learning outcomes related to sustainability in Year 3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


Other123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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