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2010 FIE Work in Progress: Development of a framework to Assess Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) in engineering undergraduate students

Abstract - Current engineering students will practice in a world of global climate change with reduced resources, in the context of an increasing global population and a desire to achieve social equity. In short, they will work in a world where sustainability is key to engineering prac- tice. However, there is neither consensus on a set of sustainability concepts on which to base an engineering curriculum nor a standardized mechanism for assessing student learning. Engineering educators lack rigorous assessment tools to judge the success of sustainability education. Development of an assessment-oriented knowledge framework can help engineering faculty iden- tify and structure sustainability-related content, develop methods to incorporate these concepts into the curricu- lum, and assess students’ learning of sustainability con- cepts. This paper discusses preliminary results of a pro- ject designed to develop a research-derived model for curricular development on a critical topic for future en- gineers’ education. Index Terms – Conceptual framework, Qualitative research, Sustainable engineering curricula, Sustainability.

1 of 33
1	

Work in Progress: 
Development of a framework to
Assess Sustainability Knowledge (ASK)
in engineering undergraduate students	

Ranjani Rao
Alice L. Pawley 	

Stephen R. Hoffmann 
Matthew W. Ohland and 	

Monica E. Cardella	

School of Engineering Education, Purdue University
2	

work in progress	

Outline of the project	

Motivation	

Major phases	

Initial findings: Literature coding	

Next steps: 	

•  Interview data	

•  Workshop planning	

Questions	

motivation	

initial
findings	

next
steps
3	

work in progress	

Outline of the project	

Motivation	

Major phases	

Initial findings: Literature coding	

Next steps: 	

•  Interview data	

•  Workshop planning	

Questions	

motivation	

initial
findings	

next
steps
motivation	

4	

NSF EEC IEECI-0935066	

Motivation: 	

•  increasing need for all engineers to be familiar
with sustainability-related concepts and
content.	

•  lack of consensus about sustainability
knowledge-base and content	

•  providing a tool for assessing sustainability
knowledge in general engineering courses may
help get relevant content into coursework. 	

initial
findings	

next
steps
5	

3 phases - plan	

initial
findings	

next
steps	

motivation	

coding of literature	

workshop with
experts 	

(engr + nonengr)	

sustainability
assessment
framework	

interviews with
undergraduate
engineers
6	

3 phases - progress	

initial
findings	

next
steps	

motivation	

coding of literature	

interviews with
undergraduate
engineers	

workshop with
experts 	

(engr + nonengr)	

sustainability
assessment
framework

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2010 FIE Work in Progress: Development of a framework to Assess Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) in engineering undergraduate students

  • 1. 1 Work in Progress: Development of a framework to Assess Sustainability Knowledge (ASK) in engineering undergraduate students Ranjani Rao Alice L. Pawley Stephen R. Hoffmann Matthew W. Ohland and Monica E. Cardella School of Engineering Education, Purdue University
  • 2. 2 work in progress Outline of the project Motivation Major phases Initial findings: Literature coding Next steps: •  Interview data •  Workshop planning Questions motivation initial findings next steps
  • 3. 3 work in progress Outline of the project Motivation Major phases Initial findings: Literature coding Next steps: •  Interview data •  Workshop planning Questions motivation initial findings next steps
  • 4. motivation 4 NSF EEC IEECI-0935066 Motivation: •  increasing need for all engineers to be familiar with sustainability-related concepts and content. •  lack of consensus about sustainability knowledge-base and content •  providing a tool for assessing sustainability knowledge in general engineering courses may help get relevant content into coursework. initial findings next steps
  • 5. 5 3 phases - plan initial findings next steps motivation coding of literature workshop with experts (engr + nonengr) sustainability assessment framework interviews with undergraduate engineers
  • 6. 6 3 phases - progress initial findings next steps motivation coding of literature interviews with undergraduate engineers workshop with experts (engr + nonengr) sustainability assessment framework
  • 7. 7 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements Coding archival journal literature initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 8. 8 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements: initial findings motivation Name Context / publisher Year # of principles Ahwahnee (A) Local Government Commission 1991 15 Barcelona (Bar) From International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) 2004 15 Bellagio (Bel) Assessment of progress toward sustainability: UN and IISD 1996 10 CERES (C) Corporate Social Responsiblity 1989 10 Chameau (Ch) GeorgiaTech CoE Dean, criteria of sustainable technologies 1999 10 Design for Environment (DfE) UNEP and CNRC, Industry/Manufacturing design 1995? 7 Earth Charter (EC) UN Rio Earth Summit 2000 16 Green Chemistry (GC) American Chemical Society 1998 12 Green Engineering (GE) derivative of GC principles 2003 12 Hannover (H) Design for sustainability 1992 9 Interface (I) Commerce / corporate response to sustainability ? 7 ITESM (IT) University / educational, learning outcomes 2005 12 Natural Step (NS) Non-profit for corporate and societal response to SD 1989 4 Royal Academy of Engineering (RA) Engineering – sustainable development 2005 12 Sandestin (S) Green Engineering (heavily CHE), meta 2003 9+ coding of literature
  • 9. 9 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements: initial findings motivation Name Context / publisher Year # of principles Ahwahnee (A) Local Government Commission 1991 15 Barcelona (Bar) From International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) 2004 15 Bellagio (Bel) Assessment of progress toward sustainability: UN and IISD 1996 10 CERES (C) Corporate Social Responsiblity 1989 10 Chameau (Ch) GeorgiaTech CoE Dean, criteria of sustainable technologies 1999 10 Design for Environment (DfE) UNEP and CNRC, Industry/Manufacturing design 1995? 7 Earth Charter (EC) UN Rio Earth Summit 2000 16 Green Chemistry (GC) American Chemical Society 1998 12 Green Engineering (GE) derivative of GC principles 2003 12 Hannover (H) Design for sustainability 1992 9 Interface (I) Commerce / corporate response to sustainability ? 7 ITESM (IT) University / educational, learning outcomes 2005 12 Natural Step (NS) Non-profit for corporate and societal response to SD 1989 4 Royal Academy of Engineering (RA) Engineering – sustainable development 2005 12 Sandestin (S) Green Engineering (heavily CHE), meta 2003 9+ coding of literature
  • 10. 10 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements: •  Traditional environmental sustainability goals •  Specific things to protect/improve •  Social/societal aspects •  Design criteria •  Business perspectives/values Developed through conversations between two team members looking at 15 “statement of principles” documents initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 11. 11 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 12. 12 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 13. 13 initial findings next steps initial findings motivation Educational focused: Barcelona ITESM Traditional sustainability focused Specific things to protect/improve Ethics/guiding beliefs Social/societal impacts Design criteria Business perspectives/values coding of literature
  • 14. 14 initial findings next steps initial findings motivation Governmental: Traditional sustainability focused Specific things to protect/improve Ethics/guiding beliefs Social/societal impacts Design criteria Business perspectives/values Ahwahnee Bellagio Earth Charter Hannover coding of literature
  • 15. Traditional sustainability focused Specific things to protect/improve Ethics/guiding beliefs Social/societal impacts Design criteria Business perspectives/values 15 initial findings next steps initial findings motivation Engineering/technical: Chameau DfE Green Chem Green Engr Royal Academy Sandestin coding of literature
  • 16. 16 initial findings next steps initial findings motivation Industrial: Ceres Interface Natural Step Traditional sustainability focused Specific things to protect/improve Ethics/guiding beliefs Social/societal impacts Design criteria Business perspectives/values coding of literature
  • 17. 17 initial findings next steps Mapping “fundamental principles” statements Coding archival journal literature initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 18. 18 initial findings next steps Coding archival journal literature 1.  Super-engineer vs. traditional engineer 2.  Sustainability in opposition to status quo in industry 3.  Sustainability as “normal” vs. as “soft” 4.  Engineers as problem definers vs. problem solvers 5.  Conventional vs. modernity in engineering practice and education 6.  Connections with diversity 7.  Sustainability as a value (ethical dimension) 8.  Interdisciplinarity vs. sustainability as a discipline 9.  Technocratic vision of sustainability initial findings motivation coding of literature
  • 19. 19 initial findings next steps Coding archival journal literature 1.  Super-engineer vs. traditional engineer initial findings motivation Increasingly, project and financial management is being included in engineering education in order to enable engineers to successfully manage projects and move upwards in their careers. This recognizes that engineers no longer play the role of mere technicians but often are quickly required to move to a management role.” (1) “The education that engineers will obtain through sustainability engineering will provide them with a better understanding of systems and processes and the roles of business and government within society. Moreover, it will also provide them with a vision of the future and the ability to recognize important factors in achieving sustainable goals. Such engineers have the capacity and capability to become leaders of corporations and of government. Moreover society will need leaders who have such visions if they are going to move towards sustainability. As a consequence, engineers will also need training to understand the role of the leader and to learn good leadership skills.” (2) 1.  Boyle, C. (2004). Considerations on educating engineers in sustainability. . International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 5/2, 147-155. 2.  Svanstrom, M., Lozano-Garcia, F., Rowe, D. (2008). Learning outcomes for sustainable development in higher education. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 9(3), 339-351. coding of literature
  • 20. 20 initial findings next steps Coding archival journal literature 1.  Super-engineer vs. traditional engineer 2.  Sustainability in opposition to status quo in industry 3.  Sustainability as “normal” vs. as “soft” initial findings motivation …it is clear that sustainability is, in fact, a prerequisite for good engineering design; it is not a fad concept, but is instead an expression of core values of long-term engineering that recognizes the increasing realization that the long-term and the large-scale will be forgotten if not explicitly included in the design process. We have termed this conception “normalized sustainability,” in order to convey to students the viewpoint of sustainability as a normal part of the essence of engineering and a standard part of the design process and not an added-on, uni- disciplinary, or “special interest” concern. (3) 3. Cardella, M.E., Hoffmann, S.R., Ohland, M., Pawley,A. (2010). Sustaining sustainable design through “Normalized Sustainability” in a first year engineering course. International Journal of Engineering Education, 26 (2), 366-377. coding of literature
  • 21. 21 next steps Interview protocol Interaction with experts: • Facilitated electronic conversations • Workshop with participants, curriculum Framework development next steps initial findings motivation
  • 22. 22 next steps Interview protocol Setting the stage 1.  What does the term “sustainability” mean to you? 2.  How would you define the term sustainability in your own words? 3.  What are key ideas that relate to the idea of sustainability”? Past or current experiences with sustainability in their lives. 1.  Describe an experience you have had or are having related to sustainability in your personal life. 2.  Describe an experience you have had or are having related to sustainability in your coursework. 3.  Describe an experience you have had or are having related to sustainability in your design experience/s. 4.  Describe an experience you have had or are having related to sustainability in your co-op, internship, or other engineering work experience/s. next steps initial findings motivation interviews with undergraduate engineers
  • 23. 23 next steps Interview protocol Current conceptions of the place of sustainability in engineering or engineering design 1.  On a scale of 1-10 to what extent do you think sustainability has a place in engineering? How about in engineering design specifically? Please explain. 2.  Do engineers from all disciplines need to learn about sustainability? If so: Which engineers? Specific disciplines? 3.  What are key engineering concepts or ideas that relate to your earlier list of key ideas related to sustainability? 4.  Who among your engineering instructors has talked with you about sustainability related to engineering? What did they tell you? 5.  Who among your co-op supervisors or colleagues has talked with you about sustainability in engineering? What did they tell you? 6.  Who among your internship supervisors has talked with you about sustainability in engineering? 7.  What kind of training in sustainability do you anticipate in your future as an engineer? next steps initial findings motivation interviews with undergraduate engineers
  • 24. 24 next steps Interview protocol Areas of knowledge and uncertainty related to environmental issues 1.  How do you think the idea of sustainability relates to environmental issues? 2.  What environmental issues do you think you might have to deal with in your future, as a citizen? 3.  What environmental issues do you think you might have to deal with in your future as a practicing engineer? 4.  What are environmental issues that other engineers (i.e. other than you, in your future) need to think about? 5.  What kind of training in environmental issues do you anticipate in your future as an engineer? Any other comments you'd like to make? next steps initial findings motivation interviews with undergraduate engineers
  • 25. 25 next steps Interview analysis •  Open coding, axial coding •  Discourse analysis (Gee, 2005) •  Connection to literature frames (principles framework, themes) next steps initial findings motivation interviews with undergraduate engineers
  • 26. 26 next steps Interaction with experts: •  Facilitated electronic conversations •  Workshop with participants, curriculum next steps initial findings motivation workshop with experts (engr + nonengr)
  • 27. 27 next steps Interaction with experts: inside and outside engineering next steps initial findings motivation LindaVanasupa CalPoly SLO workshop with experts (engr + nonengr)
  • 28. 28 next steps Interaction with experts: inside and outside engineering “Curriculum” next steps initial findings motivation Month Topic October Invitations sent out; discuss scope November Philosophy of sustainability, top 3 articles that represent their views (their own, others) December Interviews finished; start analysis January Where is sustainability education/engineering stuck? Where does the current state of education miss the point, or focus on counterproductive ideas? Purdue synthesizing interviews, lit discussions, groups’ materials February Assessment:What needs to be assessed in this area? (Not necessarily how) March First comments on synthesized framework April Purdue synthesizing interviews, lit discussions, groups’ materials May Face-to-face meeting to revise synthesized framework Purdue group revise framework for publication by collective group workshop with experts (engr + nonengr)
  • 30. 30 acknowledgements Thanks to participants! Thanks to advisors Ruth Streveler, David Radcliffe, Abigail Jahiel and to research team. This paper is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation, under grant number EEC-0935066. Opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Science Foundation.
  • 31. 31 from you... Barriers you see/experience on integrating sustainability into the curriculum What characteristics would a compelling/useful tool include for you to use it in your classroom? next steps initial findings motivation
  • 32. 32 contact us Research team: Ranjani Rao, rrao@purdue.edu Alice L. Pawley, apawley@purdue.edu Stephen R. Hoffmann, srh@purdue.edu Matthew W. Ohland, ohland@purdue.edu Monica E. Cardella, mcardella@purdue.edu Website: http://feministengineering.org
  • 33. principles reference information 33 Name Reference information Ahwahnee http://www.lgc.org/ahwahnee/principles.html Barcelona 2004 International Engineering Education for Sustainable Development conference; princples can be found at website for 2008 EESD conference: http://eesd08.tugraz.at/pics/ declaration_of_barcelona_english.pdf Bellagio http://www.iisd.org/pdf/bellagio.pdf CERES http://www.ceres.org/Page.aspx?pid=416 Chameau Cited and listed in Woodruff, Paul H., 2006,“Educating Engineers to Create a Sustainable Future,” J Environ Engr – ASCE, 132(4), 434.Woodruff citation links to: Chameau, J.-L., 1999,“Changing a mind- set, not just a problem-set: sustainable development in colleges of engineering,” Proc. 1999 Engineering Deans’ Institute of ASEE: Ethics inTechnology and Social Responsibilities. Maui, HI. Design for Environment Secondary reference from 2003 ME 450 (Design III) class notes at U. of Michigan (Professor Robert Dennis) Earth Charter http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/pages/Read-the-Charter.html Green Chemistry Anastas and Warner, Green Chemistry:Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press Green Engineering Anastas, P.T., and J.B. Zimmerman, Environmental Science andTechnology, 2003, 37(5), 94A-101A. Hannover http://www.mcdonough.com/principles.pdf Interface http://www.interfaceglobal.com/Sustainability/Our-Journey/7-Fronts-of-Sustainability.aspx ITESM from Svanstrom, Lozano-Garcia, and Rowe (2008), Int. J. Sustainability in Higher Ed., 9(3), 339-351. Natural Step http://www.naturalstep.org/the-system-conditions Royal Academy of Engineering http://www.raeng.org.uk/events/pdf/Engineering_for_Sustainable _Development.pdf Sandestin Abraham, M.A., and Nguyen, N. (2003) Environmental Progress, 22(4), 233-236. Washington Center http://www.evergreen.edu/washcenter/resources/upload/Sustainability _Learning_Outcomes_2008.doc