This engineering education research award to James Madison University (JMU) research proposal will study and assess ways in which sustainability instruction in five contexts can be integrated into existing material in engineering, science, social science, education, and the humanities. Specifically, the objectives of this proposal are 1) to employ a systems theory approach to integrating research and instruction in five sustainability contexts (environmental, social/cultural, economic, technical, individual) into existing material in the university curriculum; 2) to utilize a cross-disciplinary approach to sustainability that includes perspectives from other disciplines (science, social science, education, humanities) in order to give engineering students a comprehensive understanding for solving sustainability problems; and 3) to create a personalized instructional approach that focuses on individual values and behaviors. The final deliverable will be a first iteration of a low-cost global model for sustainability research, instruction, and assessment.
This model will allow universities to examine their programs to determine the content and methodologies they employ to teach sustainability, and consequently, determine appropriate methods for integrating cross-disciplinary instruction based on values and behaviors into their curricula.
The model will provide an inexpensive, scalable, and transferable model for integrating systems and cross-disciplinary instruction based on individual values and behaviors into an engineering course or curriculum. In the university, this project will make more visible the important research and instructional implications of sustainability in engineering, science, social science, education, and the humanities. Faculty and students involved in this effort (approximately 400 over three years) will have a greater understanding of a realistic systems approach to sustainability they will take with them into their adult lives and careers.