Sustainable development as a meta-context for engineering education

Mulder, Karel, Desha, Cheryl, & Hargroves, Karlson (2013) Sustainable development as a meta-context for engineering education. Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, 1(4), pp. 304-310.

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Abstract

At the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, there is unprecedented awareness of the need for a transformation in development, to meet the needs of the present while also preserving the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, within engineering, educators still tend to regard such development as an ‘aspect’ of engineering rather than an overarching meta-context, with ad hoc and highly variable references to topics. Furthermore, within a milieu of interpretations there can appear to be conflicting needs for achieving sustainable development, which can be confusing for students and educators alike. Different articulations of sustainable development can create dilemmas around conflicting needs for designers and researchers, at the level of specific designs and (sub-) disciplinary analysis. Hence sustainability issues need to be addressed at a meta-level using a whole of system approach, so that decisions regarding these dilemmas can be made. With this appreciation, and in light of curriculum renewal challenges that also exist in engineering education, this paper considers how educators might take the next step to move from sustainable development being an interesting ‘aspect’ of the curriculum, to sustainable development as a meta-context for curriculum renewal. It is concluded that capacity building for such strategic considerations is critical in engineering education.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 69971
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Engineering Education, HERN, Curriculum renewal, Education for sustainable development, Whole system thinking, Higher Education
DOI: 10.13044/j.sdewes.2013.01.0023
ISSN: 1848-9257
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > INTERDISCIPLINARY ENGINEERING (091500) > Interdisciplinary Engineering not elsewhere classified (091599)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 09 Apr 2014 01:13
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2015 21:50

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