Sustainable Development Education

Engineering students should learn about sustainable development and sustainability in the general education component of the curriculum as they are preparing for the major design experience. For example, studies of economics and ethics are necessary to understand the need to use sustainable engineering techniques, including improved clean technologies. In teaching sustainable design, faculty should ask their students to consider the impacts of design upon U.S. society, and upon other nations and cultures. Engineering faculty should use systems approaches, including interdisciplinary teams, to teach pollution prevention techniques, life cycle analysis, industrial ecology, and other sustainable engineering concepts.

Case studies, including studies of university-industry-government partnerships, can be used to illustrate the importance of the multidisciplinary aspects of designed systems, the impacts of those systems upon society and the environment, and the practical viability of the sustainability concept.

ASEE believes that engineering graduates must be prepared by their education to use sustainable engineering techniques in the practice of their profession and to take leadership roles in facilitating sustainable development in their communities.

The American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit association of more than 11,000 members representing colleges, corporations, and other organizations dedicated to promoting excellence in engineering education and engineering technology education. ASEE, which celebrated its centennial in 1993, plays a key role in developing and promoting policies that will enable engineering education and its allied branches of science and technology to meet the new challenges of global competition and technological change.

Approved: ASEE Board of Directors, June 20, 1999

CONTACT: ASEE Communications

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