Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 10:10 AM Federal Room B (Capital Hilton) 153
Beyond Green Engineering: Fostering the Ethic That Powers the Action
Linda Vanasupa, William Hughes, and Trevor Harding. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
One of the approaches to green engineering is to teach the tools that enable engineers to make design decisions that are better fro the environment. While knowing these tools is necessary, recent studies of graduates indicate that it may not be sufficient; graduating engineers lag other college graduates in some measure of cognitive development that underpin the green engineering ethic. The implication is that curricula must be altered to simultaneously build the ability to use the tools and build the needed ethic. In our program, we have been able to integrate five major elements within our curriculum to foster this ethic. These elements were derived from a holistic model of student development and closely align with the framework advanced by Peter Senge in his book, "The Fifth Discipline." The elements include: shared vision, personal mastery, team learning, reflecting on mental models, and systems thinking. In this paper, we present examples of how these elements are utilized in the curriculum as well as data showing accelerated development of students moral development and ability to function on design teams.