Conference PaperPDF Available

Sustainability in Engineering Education: A Literature Review of Case Studies and Projects


Abstract and Figures

Sustainability is complex and demanding to teach and learn in engineering. Several learning activities have been reported in the literature to incorporate sustainability in engineering education. This work reports an extensive literature search about learning approaches on sustainability that use case studies and projects. The most significant works were characterized and analyzed to determine trends and opportunities in the development of learning activities that can be used to incorporate sustainability at different levels in the engineering curriculum.
Content may be subject to copyright.
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 1
Sustainability in Engineering Education:
A Literature Review of Case Studies and Projects
Jaime A. Mesa, MSc1, Ivan E. Esparragoza, PhD2, and Heriberto E. Maury, PhD1
1Universidad del Norte, Colombia,,
2Penn State University, USA,
AbstractSustainability is complex and demanding to teach
and learn in engineering. Several learning activities have been
reported in the literature to incorporate sustainability in
engineering education. This work reports an extensive literature
search about learning approaches on sustainability that use case
studies and projects. The most significant works were characterized
and analyzed to determine trends and opportunities in the
development of learning activities that can be used to incorporate
sustainability at different levels in the engineering curriculum.
KeywordsSustainability, engineering education, case studies,
Sustainability is a complex term that might have different
interpretations depending on the perspective used to define it.
The definition of the term using narrow scopes makes difficult
to understand it in its whole dimension. The notion of
considering the environment, economy and society in the
study of sustainability in a holistic form is probably the most
comprehensive approach. Nevertheless, the integration of the
three pillars mentioned before is still complex and not well
balanced where the environment is a predominant factor
followed by economic and social factors. As a result, any
sustainable development requires not only deep understanding
of the effect of decisions on the different pillars but also the
knowledge of practical approaches to balance the pillars while
looking for sustainable solutions.
In the particular case of engineering, design for
sustainability is becoming a critical issue. The development of
new products has impacts on the three pillars along the life
cycle of the products from material extraction all the way to
final disposal. Consequently, engineers must be educated with
a solid foundation on sustainability to be able to create new
products and systems in a bearable, equitable and viable way.
Unfortunately, despite some initiatives around the world, the
study of sustainability in engineering is still in the early
stages. The scope of sustainability in engineering is
predominantly about ecology (eco-design) and energy
efficiency [1], and the teaching approaches are mainly limited
to a single pillar rather than the integration of the three pillars
[2]. The call for sustainability and sustainable development in
engineering curricula and other related disciplines is coming
from accreditation agencies around the world including ABET
in the U.S. [3], the European Network for Accreditation of
Engineering Education (ENAEE) [4], Engineers Canada [5],
and Engineers Australia [6] among others. This effort is to
educate engineers capable of tackling global challenges
affecting the ecosystems including climate change,
contamination, and the indiscriminate consumption of natural
resources by finding solutions and creating new products
without compromising resources for future generations while
fostering fair economic growth and human wellbeing. Other
important drivers for consideration of sustainability in
engineering education are international treaties and laws,
which are strict in environmental regulations, and in the
standards for verification of the impact of industrial activities
in the communities. Now industries are looking for engineers
with knowledge on sustainability to comply with the
normative and avoid sanctions while the governments are
looking for engineers to verify compliance and enforce
It is evident that effective sustainable practices require the
collaboration among the industry, government, academia and
society. Merely environmental regulations are not enough for
fair economic growth and social welfare. This collaboration
should contribute to establishing a balance between feasible,
viable, legal and desirable factors in the development of
products or systems. Likewise, due to its nature, sustainable
development requires also an interdisciplinary approach in
which technical, economic, regulatory and social aspects are
taken into consideration. This is why a holistic approach of the
three pillars is more conducive to a better understanding of the
sustainability concept rather than consideration of individual
separate pillars. One of the main challenges in engineering
education has been the emphasis on the technical aspects of
problem solving, considering only some economic factors and
practically ignoring the social impact of the solution [7]. This
requires changes in the engineering education paradigm.
However, the rigorous academic plans of engineering do not
provide more room for additional courses. Therefore, the idea
is to incorporate sustainability in the curriculum interwoven
within existing courses using learning modulus and case
studies that can be easily adopted by and adapted to different
engineering disciplines.
An effective incorporation of sustainability in the
curriculum should require taking into consideration three
aspects awareness, knowledge and applicability that students
should develop in their engineering education following the
heart, head and hands learning model [8]. Awareness implies
that students should be prepared to be aware of and sensitive
to the importance and need of sustainability issues taking into
consideration the three pillars. This is important since is
related to the interest and motivation of the students in the
topic. The next level is knowledge where students should be
able to distinguish the different pillars and recognize
indicators to be considered in the solution of engineering
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISBN: 978-0-9993443-0-9
ISSN: 2414-6390
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 2
challenges including specifications for decision-making
processes. This step is important since allows students to
frame and model the problem considering sustainable
parameters. Finally, the third constituent is applicability where
students should be able to use concepts, principles,
methodologies, indicators and tools for sustainable solutions.
Currently, there are different approaches that try to add or
consider aspects of sustainability in the engineering curricula;
however, each approach is unique and the contents and
methodologies vary depending on the instructor and the focus
of the program. Besides, there is no a unique recognized
strategic approach to effectively prepare engineering students
to find sustainable solutions. Because of the diverse literature
in the topic, it is necessary to establish trends and characterize
the existing works to determine trends and patterns that can be
eventually use across different disciplines in engineering.
Consequently, the aim of this work is to synthesize and
classify the works on sustainability in engineering education
based on case studies reported in the literature to encourage
future use and future research and contributions in this field.
An extensive literature review was carried out related to
sustainability in engineering education in the last 15 years.
Peer review articles were reviewed and classified according to
specific topics of interest, and taking into account different
type of works and approaches developed by different
universities around the world.
In order to make a complete characterization of previous
works, a systematic method was used as described in Figure 1.
This method considered a database revision taking into
account key concepts including sustainability, engineering
education, design and development of curriculum, and courses
focused in sustainable development. International Journals
related with engineering education were reviewed and most
meaningful works were selected for an in-deep analysis.
Figure 1: Characterization methodology employed
The works selected in the first step of the characterization
methodology employed do not represent the full amount of
works developed in engineering education for sustainability;
however, they represent the most important contributions
published in the topics considered in this study. The work
presented here is focused on undergraduate engineering
programs; thus, the approaches focused in high school and
postgraduate programs are not considered in this analysis.
Specific multidisciplinary projects and extemporaneous
programs oriented to engineering design in sustainability but
not added into curriculum are also excluded in this paper.
Characterization criteria were selected from analysis of
previous works [9], [10], [11], and considering the most
representative aspects associated with the development and
modification of curriculums and courses focused on
sustainability. Criteria used for characterization are
summarized and explained in Table 1.
Table 1: Characterization Topics established
Type of Approach Type of method in
which sustainability is
Curriculum Integration:
Sustainability is integrated
into the curriculum through
topics in existent courses.
Stand-alone Courses:
dedicated courses related with
sustainability topics.
Engineering Area
Engineering Discipline
in which approach is
General, Industrial,
Mechanical, Civil, others
Consideration of
different disciplines or
different from the
specific engineering
YES: The approach considers
NO: The approach does not
consider interdisciplinary.
Consideration of
Economic and Social
Region Region where the
approach was
North America
Case Study /
Tasks or activities for
application of
After establishing the characterization criteria, existing
literature is reviewed to classify the selected works according
to the topics and categories defined. This analysis provides
important information about tendencies, lacks and
opportunities for future work on sustainability in engineering
education. Table 2 summarizes the characterization of 33
selected works from an initial group of 60 papers resulting
relevant according to the literature review methodology. These
works are listed primarily by author, and sorted according to
the publication year from newest to oldest.
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 3
Table 2: Characterization of works related with development of curriculum and courses in Engineering Education for Sustainability
Author Type of Approach Eng. Area Region Case Study and/or
Scope Sustainability
Integration Specific
Mueller Price & Robinson 2015 [12] * Civil
Progressive Course
* * * *
Pearson Weatherton 2015 [13] * General
Senior design Project
* * * *
Nazzal et Al. 2015 [14] * Industrial
Senior Design
* * * *
DuPont & Wisthoff 2015 [15] * Mechanical
Case Study Projects * *
Sieffert et Al 2014 [16] * Civil Europe Case Study Project * * * *
Balan & Manickam 2013 [17] * Chemical
Case Study Project * * * *
Lockrey 2013 [18] * General Australia Case Study Project * * * *
Enelund et Al. 2012 [19] * * Mechanical Europe Progressive Projects * * *
Nagel et Al 2012 [20] * General
Case Study Projects * * * *
Rydhagen 2011 [21] * Sanitary Europe Lectures & Projects * * * *
Filipkowski 2011 [22] * General Europe Lectures & Exercises * *
Alahmad et Al. 2011 [23] * Arch. Eng
Case Study Projects
and Workshops
* * * *
Arasat et Al. 2011 [24] * General Europe Case Study Project * * * *
Dempere 2010 [25] * Materials
Case Study Project * * * *
Filion 2010 [26] * Civil
Projects &
* * * *
De Vere et Al. 2010 [27] *
Mechanical &
Progressive Course
* * *
De Vere 2009 [28] * General Australia
Progressive Course
* * * *
Manoliadis 2009 [29] * Civil Europe Case Study Project * * * *
Lehmann et Al. 2008 [30] * General Europe
Project problem-
* * * *
Lundqvist & Svanstrom 2008 [31] * * General Europe Case Study Projects * * * *
McAloone 2007 [32] * Mechanical Europe
Progressive Course
* * * *
Chu 2007 [33] * Civil Asia
learning Project
* * * *
Kevern 2007 [34] * Civil
Case Study Projects * * * *
Jerlich et Al. 2007 [35] * General Europe Research Projects * * * *
Fox et Al. 2006 [36] * General
Research Projects * *
Kamp 2006 [37] * General Europe Case Study Projects * * * *
Oakes et Al. 2006 [38] *
Product/ industrial
Europe Case Study Project * * * *
Mulder 2006 [39] * * General Europe
Progressive Course
* *
Boks & Diehl 2005 [40] * Industrial Europe Role Game Project * *
Vezzoli 2003 [41] * General Europe
Application of
Software Tools in
* * * *
Siller 2001 [42] * Civil
Course Projects
* *
Coles 2001 [43] * General
Project &
* *
Quist et Al. 2000 [44] * General Europe Case Study Projects * * * *
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 4
Table 2 provides information about the characterization
criteria tendencies and motivations since year 2000. As it can
be seen from the results, there is a growing tendency in the
development of curriculums and courses oriented to
sustainability in engineering. After 2005, the efforts and
concerns about this topic were taken into account by
universities around the world with more emphasis considering
the increment in the number of publications in the field (See
Figure 2).
Figure 2: Publications during the last 15 years in the study topic
Following with the analysis of the data founded, the
results of each criterion employed are described below.
A. Type of Approach
A review of the literature shows that there are two main
approaches to introduce sustainability topics in engineering
education. The first approach consists of introducing topics in
existing courses through the addition of modules and/or
learning activities related to sustainability. This approach is
identified in this work as curriculum integration”. The second
technique is the development of specific stand-alone courses
on sustainability identified here as “course specific”.
In this study, 55% of the works reviewed in the literature
employ the curriculum integration technique. This approach is
considered especially in universities with different engineering
programs (Civil, Mechanical, Industrial, and Chemical among
others), and is usually used in common engineering basic
courses that provide an early perception and global vision of
sustainability issues. The other 45% uses stand-alone courses
traditionally developed in specific programs; however, in most
cases, these courses are not a required course in the
curriculum and courses are used as technical electives.
In the category of curriculum integration, it is common to
find projects that evolve throughout the program. This is
considered a powerful learning approach since students get
involved in sustainability in a progressive way from basic
concepts to application of principles in the solution of design
challenges. This technique also provides opportunities for
critical thinking and teamwork in interdisciplinary fields.
B. Engineering Area
An analysis of the literature shows that Civil (21%),
Mechanical (12%) and Industrial (9%) engineering are the
programs with more sustainability educational initiatives
documented. Nevertheless, most of the works founded in the
literature corresponds to general engineering programs or
transverse courses designed as common requirements for all
engineering programs in a university. It is important to
highlight the incidence of sustainability in civil and
architecture engineering, and other close related programs.
This is because the design of buildings is one of the most
advanced fields in terms of sustainability in which the use of
renewable energy, eco-materials and principles of eco-design
are a common denominator. Figure 3 shows a percentage
distribution of this criterion in the most important engineering
Figure 3: Distribution of sustainability education initiatives by
Engineering Fields in 33 works analysed
C. Interdisciplinary Scope
Due to the nature of sustainability, knowledge from a
variety of disciplines and aspects from different engineering
field should be considered in engineering education for
sustainability. In the literature reviewed, 66% of the cases are
oriented to interdisciplinary tasks, requiring instructors from
other programs and, in some cases, participation of students
from other engineering disciplines. This is particularly
common in course projects where it is necessary to find a
design solution taking into account different engineering and
design fields.
Universities with many engineering programs have a
great advantage because the availability of instructors and
students from different programs that can work together to
enrich the learning experiences and projects. Institutions with
one or only few engineering programs can develop projects
involving other disciplines such as science, business,
humanities and social sciences. Participation in open
competitions, workshops, or multi-campus projects working
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 5
with students from other institutions and fields is another
option to provide the diverse knowledge needed for
sustainability; however, this approach requires a higher effort
from organizers and institutions.
D. Sustainability Dimensions
One of the most challenging issues in sustainability is
defining and measuring economic and social indicators in the
development of products or systems. Therefore, it is difficult
to include those dimensions effectively in learning activities
because of the complexity of moving from the theoretical
definition of economic and social impact in sustainability to
the practical application of those pillars to the solution of
engineering challenges. However, an analysis of the literature
reveals that most of the works consider the three main pillars
of sustainability including concepts related to ethics, cultural
analysis, critical thinking, and socio-political issues among
others. In this criterion, 75% of the works reviewed consider
the three domains of sustainability despite the challenges of
dealing with them due to the lack of standards. This holistic
consideration has been significant in recent years. The absence
of economic and social dimensions was evident in the early
2000s when only the environment was the primary focus of
sustainable design.
Some researchers have used surveys in their projects to
measure the social impact considered by students in the
solution of the projects. The surveys evaluate the level of
understanding of the social dimension of sustainability. When
students can identify specific social issues, they can consider
that dimension in the projects. This practice generates
awareness about the need and requirements associated with
social issues from early design stages.
E. Region
Europe (UK, Denmark, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, and
Sweden among others) with 49% and North America (USA)
with 39% are the regions with leading the publication of
initiatives on sustainability in engineering education followed
by Australia with a 9% of participation and Asia with a 3%
(See Figure 4). It is important the advances of European
universities in incorporating sustainability in their curriculum.
Even some European engineering programs have alternative
degrees and postgraduate opportunities focused specifically in
sustainable development. It is important to highlight here that
South America, Central America and Africa have not
significant participation in publications showing the
implementation of sustainability into engineering education
The literature review suggests that developed countries
are more committed to incorporate learning activities on
sustainability in their engineering curriculum. However, since
sustainability issues are global in nature, there is a need of
contribution on this effort from the developing countries for
an effective global impact.
Figure 4: Region distribution of 33 works analysed
D. Case Study / Applications
This aspect refers to the approaches used to introduce the
concepts of sustainability and sustainable development in
specific learning activities in different engineering programs.
After analyzing the 33 works referenced here, the most
common approach is the use of case studies, some of them
focused in problem-based learning (PBL). Universities with
high advanced curriculum integration in sustainability demand
many course projects in which students demonstrate the use
and application of sustainability topics (mainly in design-
oriented projects). Interesting activities such as competitions
and interdisciplinary projects are proposed with the aim of
motivating students to create multidisciplinary teams from
different engineering programs and using sustainability
principles for the solution of engineering challenges.
Cases and projects sponsored by the industry have a
significant impact in the study of sustainability since students
can develop awareness, knowledge and ability to apply
sustainability principles in real situations affecting industries
and communities. However, this approach requires strong
collaboration between industry and academia.
Even though the literature review reveals the growing
efforts to create particular learning approaches and specific
learning experiences on sustainability, there is still a need to
create methodologies based on the use of standard
sustainability indicators in engineering education to meet
minimum sustainability requirements in the curriculums.
Engineering accreditation agencies around the world are
requesting the inclusion of sustainability as students learning
outcome; however, engineering accreditation is not mandatory
and is not an additional requirement for professional practice
in many parts of the world. Therefor this request from
accreditation agencies even tough is important, it is not
enough. It is necessary to demand the integration of
sustainability into engineering curriculum from higher
government agencies.
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 6
This paper summarizes approaches in engineering
education focused on curriculum and course modifications to
introduce sustainability. Nevertheless, it is inferred that other
experiences and works have not been published. In the next
few years, it is expected that more work is done and reported
around the world, especially in places such as South and
Central America, Africa, and Asia.
Undergraduate programs in United States and Europe
show a significant progress in curriculum modifications to
introduce sustainability and this tendency is expected to
continue growing not only in those regions but also in
Australasia and Asia. As many Latin American institutions are
looking for international accreditation of their engineering
programs, it is expected that this will result in more
institutions in that region incorporating sustainability in their
curriculums. Additionally, more postgraduate programs on
sustainability are expected to arise in response to the need of
more specialized workforce in the field.
Published case studies analyzed in this paper show
differences among different undergraduate approaches in
engineering education taking into account sustainability. The
differences in curricular contents, application methods and
dimensions considered are significant and reveal the need of
standardization and methodological frameworks for the
effective incorporation of learning activities on sustainability.
The literature review also reveals that the use of case
studies and projects are common practices to provide learning
experiences to engineering students on sustainability.
However, it is necessary to integrate interdisciplinary projects
in collaboration with the industry in order to develop real
problem-based projects. This collaborative approach will
facilitate the definition of sustainability indicators and
specifications that are necessary for the understanding of this
complex topic. Case studies and projects connecting students
with real situations trigger student interest in the topic
resulting in learning experiences that are more effective.
Hence, the active collaboration among academia and industry
is seen as a key element for a successful integration of
sustainability in engineering education.
The UNESCO Roadmap for Implementing the Global
Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development
[45] has identified priority areas and strategies for a
transformation in education for sustainable development.
Some researchers have proposed the formulation of a
methodological framework based on the recommendations by
UNESCO even though there are no specific learning
initiatives stipulated. The roadmap document has a significant
value since it contains valuable information that can serve as
an adequate complement for learning initiatives on
sustainability in engineering education.
The characterization and analysis presented in this paper
will be used to determine commonalities in approaches and
concepts with the aim of proposing a methodological
framework for the incorporation of sustainability in
engineering education at the different levels from introductory
to advance courses. ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This work has been partially supported by
COLCIENICAS through the PhD National Scholarship
Program No 617-2 Contract UN-OJ-2014-24072.
. B. Allenby and S. Rajan, The Theory and Practice of
Sustainable Engineering, Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 2012.
M. Arsat, J. Holgaard and E. de Graaff, “Three
dimensions of characterizing courses for sustainability
in engineering education: Models, approaches and
orientations,” in Proceedings of the 3rd International
Congress On Engineering Education (ICEED), Kuala
Lumpur, Malasya, 2011.
ABET, “ABET Accreditation-criteria,” 01 2017.
[Online]. Available:
2018/#outcomes. [Accessed 24 01 2017].
ENAEE, “ENAEE Official Page,” [Online]. Available:
engineering-programmes. [Accessed 24 01 2017].
Engineers Canada, “Engineers Canada Official Page,”
2016. [Online]. Available:
-Criteria-Procedures-2016-final.pdf. [Accessed 24 01
Engineers Australia, “Engineers Australia Official
Page,” [Online]. Available:
%201%Proffesional%20Engineer.pdf. [Accessed 24 01
I. De Vere, G. Melles and A. Kapoor, “An Ethical
Stance: Engineering Curricula Designed for Social
Responsibility,” in Proceedings of the 18th
International Conference on Engineering Design
(ICED11), Impacting Society through Engineering
Design, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 2011.
S. Gazibara, “Head, Heart and Hands Learning A
Challenge for Contemporary Education,” Journal of
Education, vol. 1, pp. 71-82, 2013.
I. Roffe, “Sustainability of curriculum development for
enterprise education - Observations on cases from
Wales,” Education + Training, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 140-
164, 2010.
J. Fien, “Advancing sustainability in higher education:
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 7
issues and opportunities for research,” Higher Education
Policy, vol. 15, pp. 143-152, 2002.
C. Reise and L. Phan, “Sustainable Manufacturing in
Vietnamese engineering education - Approaches from
the Vietnamese - German University,” Procedia CIRP,
vol. 40, pp. 341-346, 2016.
J. Mueller Price and M. Robinson, “Developing Future
Engineers Case Study on the incorporation of
Sustainable Design in a Undergraduate Civil
Engineering Curriculum,” Journal of Water Resoruces
Planning and Management, vol. 141, no. 2, pp. -1--1,
Y. Pearson Weatherton, M. Sattler, S. Mattingly, V.
Chen, J. Rogers and B. Dennis, “Multipronged
Approach for Incorporating Stustainability into a
Undergraduate Civil Engineering Curriculum,” Journal
of Professional Issues in Engineering Education, vol.
141, no. 2, pp. -1--1, 2015.
D. Nazzal, J. Zabinski, A. Hugar, D. Reinhart, K.
Waldemar and M. Kaveh, “Introduction of
Sustainability Concepts into Industrial Engineering
Education: A Modular Approach,” Advances in
Engineering Education, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 1-31, 2015.
B. DuPont and A. Wisthoff, “Exploring the retention of
sustainable design principles in engineering practice
through design education,” in Proceedings of the ASME
2015 International Design Engineering Technical
Conferences & Computers and Information in
Engineering Conference , Boston, Massachusetts, USA,
Y. Sieffert, J. Huygen and D. Daudon, “Sustainable
construction with repurposed materials in the context of
a civil engineering - architecture collaboration,” Journ
of Clener Production, vol. 67, pp. 125-138, 2014.
P. Balan and G. Manickam, “Promoting Holistic
Education through Design of Meaningful and Effective
Assignments in Sustainable Engineering,” in IEEE
International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and
Learning for Engineering (TALE), Kuta, Indonesia,
S. Lockrey and K. Bissett Johnson, “Designing
pedagogy with emerging sustainable technologies,”
Journal of Cleaner Productiono, vol. 61, pp. 70-79,
M. Enelund, M. Knutson Wedel, U. Lundqvist and J.
Malmqvist, “Integration of Educational for sustainable
development in a mechanical engineering programme,”
in Proceedings of the 8th International CDIO
Conference, Queensland University of Technology,
Brisbane, 2012.
R. L. Nagel, E. C. Pappas and O. Pierrakos, “On a
Vision to Educating Students in Sustainability and
Design - The James Madison University School of
Engineering Approach,” Sustainability, vol. 4, pp. 72-
91, 2012.
B. Rydhagen and C. Dackman, “Integration of
sustainable development in sanitary engineering
education in Sweeden,” European Journal of
Engineering Education, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 87-95, 2011.
A. Filipkowski, “Introducing future engineers to
sustainable ecology problems: a case study,European
Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 36, no. 6, pp.
537-546, 2011.
M. Alahmad, H. Brink, A. Brumbaugh and E. Rieur,
“Integrating Sustainable Design into Architectural
Engineering Education: UNL-AE Program,” Journal of
Architectural Engineering ASCE, vol. 17, pp. 75-81,
M. Arsat, J. Holgaard and E. De Graaff, “Stand-alone
and Inderdisciplinary Course Design for Engineering
Education for Sustainable Development,” in SEFI
annual conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 2011.
L. A. Dempere, “Understanding Sustainability through
Reverse Engineering,” IEEE Technology and Society
Magazine - Fall 2010, pp. 37-44, 2010.
Y. Filion, “Developing and Teaching a Course in
"Applied Sustainability and Public Health in Civil
Engineering Design" at Queen's University, Kingston,
Canada,” Journal of professional issues in engineering
education and practice, vol. 136, no. 4, pp. 197-205,
I. De Vere, G. Melles and A. Kapoor, “Product design
engineering - a global education trend in
multidisciplinary training for creative product design,”
European Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 35,
no. 1, pp. 33-43, 2010.
I. De Vere, K. Bissett Johnson and C. Thong,
“Educating the responsible engineer: Socially
responsible design and sustainability in the curriculum,
in International Conference on Engineering and
Product Design Education, Brighton, UK, 2009.
O. Manoliadis, “Education for Sustainability:
Experiences from Greece,” Journal of Professional
Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, vol. 135,
no. 2, pp. 70-74, 2009.
M. Lehmann, P. Christensen, X. Du and M. Thrane,
“Problem-oriented and project-based learning (POPBL)
as an innovative learning strategy for sustainable
development in engineering education,” European
Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 33, no. 3, pp.
283-295, 2088.
U. Lundqvist and M. Svanstrom, “Inventory of content
in basic courses in environment and sustainable
development at Chalmers University of Technology in
Sweden,” European Journal of Engineering Education,
15th LACCEI International Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and Technology: “Global Partnerships for
Development and Engineering Education, 19-21 July 2017, Boca Raton Fl, United States. 8
vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 355-364, 2008.
T. McAloone, “A Competence-Based Approach to
Sustainable Innovation Teaching: Experiencias within a
new engineering program,” Journal of Mechanical
Design - ASME, vol. 129, pp. 769-778, 2007.
K. Chau, “Incorporation of Sustainability Concepts into
a Civil Engineering Curriculum,” Journal of
professional issues in engineering education and
practice ASCE, vol. 133, no. 3, pp. 188-191, 2007.
J. Kevern, “Green Building and Sustainable
Infraestructure: Sustainability Education for Civil
Engineers,” Journal of Professional issues in
engineering education and practice, vol. 137, no. 2, pp.
107-112, 2011.
J. Jerlich, H. O. A. Ghorabi and F. Reichl, “Ecodesign
education - A value - based approach for sustainable
product development as an answer to upcoming global
challenges,” in Management of Technological Changes
Book 2, 2007, pp. 185-190.
P. L. Fox, W. L. Worley, S. P. Hundley and K. Wilding,
“Enhancing Student Learning Through International
University - Industry Cooperation: The Go Green
Course,” International Journal of Engineering
Education, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 175-184, 2008.
L. Kamp, “Engineering education in sustainable
development at Delf University of Technology,”
Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 14, pp. 928-931,
G. Oakes, A. Felton and K. Garner, “From the formal to
the innovative: The use of case studies and sustainable
projects in developing a desing process model for
educating product/industrial designers,” European
Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 31, no. 5, pp.
567-579, 2006.
K. F. Mulder, “Engineering curricula in Sustainable
Development. An evaluation of changes at Delft
University of Technology,” European Journal of
Engineering Education, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 133-144,
C. Boks and J. C. Diehl, “Integration of sustainability in
regular courses: experiences in industrial design
engineering,Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 14,
pp. 932-939, 2006.
C. Vezzoli, “A new generation of designers:
perspectives for education and training in the field of
sustainable design. Experiences and projects at the
Politecnico di Milano University,” Journal of Cleaner
Production, vol. 11, pp. 1-9, 2003.
T. J. Siller, “Sustainability and Critical Thinking in Civil
Engineering Curriculum,”
Journal of professional issues
in engineering education and practice, vol. 127, no. 3,
pp. 104-108, 2001.
E. Coles, “Sustainable Design in Engineering and
Technology Education: A Muldisiciplinary Model,” in
Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for
Engineering Education Annual Conference &
Exposition. American Society for Engineering
Education, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001.
J. Quist, C. Rammelt, M. Overschie and G. De Werk,
“Backcasting for sustainability in engineering education:
the case of Delft University of Technology,” Journal of
Cleaner Production, vol. 14, pp. 868-876, 2000.
UNESCO, “The UNESCO Roadmap for Implementing
the Global Action Programme on Education for
Sustainable Development,,” United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
France, 2014.
View publication statsView publication stats
... Here, sustainable development This is also the reason why we focused our research on the topic of education for sustainability in higher engineering education. Although there are many studies targeting similar topics regarding the universities' role in developing and enhancing sustainability-oriented competencies [2,7,[14][15][16][17], few of them are solely focused on analyzing the approach that technical universities have towards integrating sustainability and sustainable development into their curricula [11,[18][19][20][21][22][23][24]. ...
... Focusing on engineering curricula, there are several ways to include sustainability issues. According to Mesa et al. [24] and Riley [42], universities can opt for: Stand-alone courses (dedicated courses related to sustainability topics) and curriculum integration (sustainability-related topics are integrated into existent courses). ...
... The main objective of our research was to explore the way technical universities in Romania develop and implement educational programs aimed at enabling engineering students to gain sustainability competencies, as there has been a great number of experts highlighting the importance of ESD in engineering schools and the importance of adapting and renewing engineering curriculums to contribute to a more sustainable future [11,18,23,24,40,[56][57][58]. ...
Full-text available
Without a doubt, we are living in interesting times, characterized by both continuous economic development and improved standard of living, but also uncertainty, increased pollution, and environmental degradation, which means that, now, more than ever, global and consistent action is needed in order to create a more sustainable future. In this context, education in general and higher education in particular, face both, a significant challenge and a substantial role due to their formative function both in terms of mindset and practical tools. The main objective of our research was to explore the way technical universities in Romania have integrated into their curricula courses that aim at shaping sustainability competencies in engineering students. The study was carried out based on an exploratory empirical content analysis of the technical universities’ curricula, in order to identify the courses, including sustainable development (SD)-related topics. The analysis covered 255 bachelor programs and 394 master programs with a total of 25,920 courses, both mandatory and optional. The results revealed that there are differences in approaching sustainability education between the universities and also faculties within the universities included in the sample, revealing a rather siloed approach.
... Mesa et al. [8] suggest that the rigorous academic plans for engineering education leave no room for additional courses, while Lourdel et al. [9] point out that the very complexity of sustainable development also supports the claim that it cannot be integrated into the engineering education just as an additional course. Sustainable development represents a new integrative principle, not a new set of tools, so the concept of sustainable development cannot be regarded as only an "addition" to the existing skills and educational programs of engineers [10]. ...
... Sustainable development represents a new integrative principle, not a new set of tools, so the concept of sustainable development cannot be regarded as only an "addition" to the existing skills and educational programs of engineers [10]. Thus, a course dedicated to sustainable development is not sufficient [11], but sustainability needs to be "intertwined" with the existing courses [8]. ...
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to research the ways of integrating sustainable development into study programs of engineering faculties in an international context, as well as to analyze the current state of engineering education for sustainable development at the universities of the Republic of Serbia. Therefore, a desktop research, as well as an analysis of the engineering education curricula, have been conducted. The results of the research indicated to two possible approaches to the integration of SD into the engineering curricula - in the form of special subjects dedicated to the problems of sustainable development in the engineering, or as an integrative approach which implies that sustainable development becomes an integral part of the entire curriculum. Subjects dedicated to sustainable development have been identified at all universities, but not at all faculties where engineers are educated in the Republic of Serbia, they are present at all levels of study (undergraduate, master, doctoral), as well as within applied, integrated and specialist studies, and by status they are most often elective. The results confirm that the engineering curricula open up towards the questions of sustainable development both in international context, and in higher education of the Republic of Serbia and as such, they can serve to the relevant ministries of education and science, universities and engineering faculties as a recommendation in which way to plan and design higher education of engineers in the future in order to provide overall support in the integration of sustainability into the engineering.
... Therefore, the big challenges in academia are: what to teach (scope, dimensions, discipline orientation), when to teach (educational level), how to teach (teaching strategies and techniques), and how to assess learning on sustainability. In the case of engineering, many learning initiatives on sustainability have been published, and a comprehensive review can be found in Mesa et al. [1]. An analysis of those publications reveals the lack of standard methods to assess the effectiveness of those learning initiatives. ...
... Many efforts to introduce sustainability in engineering education have been reported in the literature. The work by Mesa et al. [1] presents an extensive literature review of case studies and projects that have been used to educate engineering students on sustainability. The reported works were categorized depending on the type of approaches used, the engineering discipline, the interdisciplinary scope, the sustainability dimensions considered, the regions were the initiatives have taken place, and the applications. ...
... From the perspective of engineering education, universities have a key role in consolidating the incorporation of sustainability issues in future professionals who will lead the required changes for the next generations in production and consumption patterns, since they are considered stakeholders and role models in their communities in the field of social and environmental responsibility [4]. Besides, the future generation of engineers must be educated with solid knowledge on sustainability issues to create new products and systems minimizing environmental, economic, and societal impacts [5]. Therefore, universities have the responsibility and ability to promote CE transition through curriculum education activities [6]. ...
Conference Paper
Nowadays, companies, governments, and designers are concerned about the environmental impact derived from the development of new products. In light of this trend, the concept of Circular Economy (CE) is gaining relevance since CE enables a set of strategies to avoid and reduce resource consumption, energy, and emissions derived from transforming raw material into functional products. These strategies also imply extending product lifespan, keeping their value as long as possible, and closing the loop of materials involved in such products. Future engineers will face the CE model, which involves a radical shift from the current linear model based on throwaway practices. Therefore, there is a need to educate professionals with knowledge in the topic and advance the research in the field. However, CE has not been yet globally introduced in the engineering curriculum in many parts of the world, and the research in the field has also been limited. CE has not been widely adopted yet as a strategy for the sustainable development of new products. Consequently, this article reviews and summarizes the research work and some implementation initiatives on CE in learning activities for engineering students during the last 10 years following a systematic approach. Results of the study provide a broad viewpoint in terms of where the research work is taking place and the means of disseminating the results. Additionally, an analysis based on the content reflects the methodological approaches used to introduce CE in the curriculum. Finally, the literature review also identifies the focus areas of the CE research and the emphasis during the lifecycle of the products. This work also reflects on some challenges for implementing CE in the engineering curriculum. The analysis presented in this article serves as a keystone for educators, lecturers, and researchers in engineering education to include and implement CE strategies and methodological tools in the curriculum of engineering and advance the research work in this area.
... Our next-generation engineers must be able to design technological activities with restricted natural resources for wider applications, sustaining the environment and protecting human health for future generations [1]- [2]. Sustainability is traditionally covered by civil engineering [3]- [4], environmental engineering [5], and chemical engineering [6] and is now extended to a broader discipline, e.g., software engineering [7]. Scholars have identified the three pillars of sustainability as environmental, economical, and societal, making it a multidisciplinary subject [8]. ...
... We argue that sustainability and legislative related coverage can be good candidates for integrating ethics across the curriculum. The paper provides insights and examples that can serve as guidance to lecturers and programmes in light of an expressed need for guidance on how to implement ethics across the engineering curriculum ( [10]; [12]). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The paper explores the inclusion of sustainability and legislation related coverage in Engineering programmes in Ireland in the context of increasing calls for integrating ethics across the curriculum. It is part of a broader study examining engineering ethics education conducted in cooperation with the national accrediting body, Engineers Ireland. The study includes 23 Engineering programmes from 6 institutions in Ireland that underwent accreditation between 2017-2019. Qualitative research methods have been employed, such as documentary analysis of module descriptors and of materials submitted for accreditation, as well as interviews with evaluators serving on accreditation panels and lecturers within the participant programmes. This led to the identification of two main themes employed to convey ethical content that are deemed to be suitable candidates for the integration of ethics across the curriculum, with coverage present in a wide variety of modules, such as technical modules, design modules, professional formation modules, final year projects, work placement, business and legal studies modules. We examine how each of these two main themes purporting to sustainability and legislation have been employed for the integration of ethics across the curriculum, by looking at the teaching and assessment methods employed. Our contribution thus aims to provide insights and examples that can guide programme chairs and lecturers in the implementation of ethics in varied module types across the engineering curriculum.
... However, the benefits of circular economy on sustainability are not widely known yet. This situation can be originated by several factors such as: a) the novelty of the concept, which only have 10 years, b) the need of additional behaviour change from the perspective of user/consumer about sustainability impacts [1] and c) lack of legal pressure and policies promoting circular economy activities such as reuse, recycling, remanufacture and repair [2]. From the perspective of engineering, the circular economy is a prominent research topic. ...
Full-text available
This paper describes a group activity concerning the topic of climate change, designed to introduce the concepts of sustainable development into a Robotic Engineering degree. The purpose of this activity was to make students reflect about the impact of their work on the planet as future engineers by asking them to design an environmentally friendly robot that also integrated social and economic aspects, covering the three dimensions of sustainability in this way. Students were surveyed in order to study different aspects of their commitment, attitudes, practices, and motivation towards sustainability. In addition to the overall analysis of the survey, three specific studies were carried out with the aim of comparing the responses of different population groups: (i) Students who completed the proposed assignment and students who did not, (ii) female and male students, and (iii) roles played in the assignment. The results of the analysis revealed the high commitment of the students with respect to sustainability, but also a lack of active participation and awareness of their impact as future engineers. The activity was not only a way to introduce sustainability concepts, but in many cases, it also became a motivation for the participants, especially for the female students.
Full-text available
Applying a holistic, integrated and experiential approach, this paper analyses the culture of head, heart and hands learning as both a challenge and an imperative of contemporary education using the descriptive method based on a review of relevant literature. Selfdetermination, self-work, self-organization and self-management are emphasized along with different models of learning culture oriented towards student’s holistic development. In accordance with that the paper discusses issues related to the new organization of learning and teaching and the role of the teachers, students and school community. Specifically, many scientists believe (Henting, 1997; Bruner, 2000; Stoll & Fink, 2000; Faulstich, 1999) that high-quality and successful changes in education can be achieved by introducing a culture of learning which espouses the holism and integrity of human beings. Such changes are especially relevant in the context of lifelong learning which integrates all three domains of learning: cognitive (head), affective (heart) and practical (hands). In this way, cognitive, affective, experiential and active learning interests are fully expressed, which bears witness to the fact that people learn, think, feel and act differently.
Full-text available
The industrialization of Vietnam ensures the growth of the nation. This does not always positively affect environmental and social conditions. A key factor to cope with sustainability challenges is to raise the people's awareness. The educational system can have tremendous influence on this.
Full-text available
Sustainability in operations, production, and consumption continues to gain relevance for engineers. This trend will accelerate as demand for goods and services grows, straining resources and requiring ingenuity to replace boundless supply in meeting the needs of a more crowded, more prosperous world. Industrial engineers are uniquely positioned to incorporate sustainability concepts into this work; their focus is on systems, and in observing these systems at a high level, they can most effectively choose which parts of the systems to modify to produce desired results. In this paper, we explore using the vehicle of education to introduce sustainability concepts into industrial engineers' training. We first survey the current state of sustainability education in industrial engineering programs. We then discuss a curricular modification program in which sustainability was introduced into several courses through use of content-focused modules. We conclude with our recommendations on how such a structure can be used to expand sustainability education in industrial engineering programs at all levels.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Engineering must provide the global community with socially responsible, ethical and sustainable design solutions. The potential for engineering designers to contribute positively to the betterment of society, through product service systems that provide opportunities for sustainable development, enhance societal well-being and empower communities to be self determining, must be realised. This will require the engineering community to take leadership roles in product design and development and to engage with emerging economies to deliver appropriate designs and sustainable technologies. Social responsibility and sustainability will need to be at the forefront of product design and development and more importantly, integrated throughout engineering education. As global designers, engineering graduates must be ethical and responsible, fully cognizant of the consequences of their professional activities, their potential for global societal contribution and their responsibilities to all stakeholders and communities. Opportunities exist for well considered curricula to drive new engineering paradigms and determine attitudinal change amongst the next engineering designers.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Engineering should serve the community in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. In order to achieve this, the engineering profession must progress from the role of technical service provider, to a profession that leads change through understanding of the human, environmental, societal and cultural challenges and the consequences of professional activity. Environmental and social considerations need to be integrated early into the product development process; as early as in the education of the next designers and design engineers. Tomorrow's engineering graduates will need not only awareness, but an embedded ethical philosophy that forms the foundation of their engineering learning. Designing for our complex global societies requires cultural understanding and anticipation of future human needs. Product design teams must address the societal needs of those at the base of the pyramid, rather than the material needs of first world consumers. The needs of those in developing nations, the other 90 percent, should be the target of a new engineering conscience, led by pedagogical change within engineering faculties. Sustainability and socially responsible design will be only achieved by a paradigm shift which directs the way business, communities and individuals make decisions that contribute to the realisation of broad social goals. The Product Design Engineering program at Swinburne University of Technology seeks to contribute to this new paradigm by integrating sustainability and socially responsible design throughout the engineering curriculum. As engineering and design educators we have the opportunity to drive a new pedagogy and determine attitudinal change through well considered curricula.
Full-text available
This paper discusses a framework for incorporating sustainable design/thinking as a new civil engineering course and experiences from the pilot offering. Important areas are outlined to aid all engineers in understanding sustainability in context with traditional engineering principles. Green-building rating systems were used to introduce the concepts of sustainability in buildings and infrastructure, highlighted by presentations from green-building professionals. By providing a better understanding of sustainability through education, civil engineers can provide proactive solutions to a growing global infrastructure.
Conference Paper
The School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University is home to one of the largest academic Mechanical Design groups in the country. As a leader in undergraduate design education, we have been able to keep in touch with a large group of mechanical design graduates, and as such are capable of assessing how students retain information learned in undergraduate coursework to see how this understanding is employed in real-world engineering practice. However, the principles governing the design of sustainable products and processes are relatively novel and are only now being integrated into the undergraduate and graduate mechanical design curriculum. It is our hypothesis that particular means of learning and understanding sustainable design — via lectures, homework assignments, design projects, and the use of various sustainability-related LCA tools — will enable the highest retention of sustainable design understanding, and a higher likelihood that this sustainable design knowledge will be propagated into design practice in industry. Multiple curricular studies that explore dissemination and retention of sustainable design skills are being explored, including a junior-level introductory mechanical design course and a graduate level sustainable product development course. In the junior-level course, baseline sustainability knowledge is tested by allowing students to make sustainable design decisions by applying varied skill sets, including general principles, a list of sustainable design guidelines, and an innovative online survey (The GREEn Quiz). The graduate-level course, which employs sustainable design principles within a larger product development architecture, will capitalize on more “expert” knowledge. Future work will also be discussed, including planned validation studies and curriculum improvements, as well as the means of quantifying the retention of sustainable design information.
Over the past few decades, there has been growing emphasis on sustainable development and a growing need to train students to think sustainably in preparation for their careers as practicing engineers. Thinking sustainably requires the consideration of not only environmental impacts but also societal and economic impacts. Thus, teaching future engineers to think sustainably requires a multifaceted, multipronged approach. To that end, a team of faculty from the Departments of Civil, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington acquired funding from the National Science Foundation to implement a project entitled "Engineering Sustainable Engineers." The project was designed to infuse undergraduate curricula in the three departments with sustainability, which was augmented by incorporating sustainability emphasis into other aspects of the undergraduate experience. Key program elements were (1) learning modules developed for courses across all levels of matriculation within the three curricula, (2) quality sustainable internships, and (3) a multidisciplinary senior design project with a sustainability focus. This paper summarizes the rationale, approaches, and results for integrating sustainability into the civil engineering undergraduate learning experience. (C) 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.
Given the profound impact of the built environment on the resources of the earth, a growing number of institutions of higher education are preparing engineers to make sustainable design a standard in the construction industry. This paper looks at the diverse ways in which education in sustainable design can be integrated into engineering curricula using the architectural engineering (AE) program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as a case study example. The UNL program is unique in that it prepares students for careers in sustainable development through a curriculum that promotes both traditional and hands-on, experiential learning. Through coursework, research, workshops, student competitions, and even interaction with the UNL engineering facility, students learn how to make our built environment more sustainable. A key facet of this program is to connect the institution with the local community and industry to give students an opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to real-world problems in professional settings. Hence, this green integration actually takes place on two levels, within the UNL curriculum itself and within the larger context of the community and industry. Together, academia, the industry, and the community are preparing engineers to help ensure a more sustainable future for our world.
To better prepare students to tackle the challenges of real-world problems, the authors developed a strategic approach to incorporate sustainable-design principles in the undergraduate curriculum to set a foundation of sustainability on which students could build throughout their academic careers. The plan through the four-year undergraduate curriculum involves creating an awareness of sustainable design in a required freshman introduction-to-design course and describing the science of sustainability and how students can apply sustainability principles in a new required sophomore-level course. The students are then prepared to consider sustainability in their civil engineering technical design courses during the third-year curriculum. In their fourth year, students apply sustainability principles in developing and evaluating design solutions during their senior capstone design course. Assessment of student learning showed improvement in students' abilities to comprehend principles of sustainable design as set forth during Years 1 and 2, as shown through statistically significant increases in knowledge items for Year 1 and ability items for Years 1 and 2. Additionally, the authors plan to conduct a more detailed assessment of senior design submissions during Year 4 to better measure students' abilities to apply and evaluate these principles through the design process.