EESD2021: Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference

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Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD2021) is the 10th iteration of a biennial international conference which attracts engineering educators and academics from all over the world with an interest in embedding sustainability in the curriculum.

University College Cork hosted EESD2021 in June 2021, the first time in Ireland (and for the first time in virtual format), on the theme 'Building Flourishing Communities'.

EESD2021 Proceedings


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 69
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    Sustainable engineering management for international development: lessons learned from a new and interdisciplinary MSc programme
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-14) Yin, Xiaojun; Peters, Krijn; Xavier, Patricia; Holness, James
    Swansea University has developed a Sustainable Engineering Management in International Development Masters course which attempts to pave the way for a new brand of ‘global’ engineers equipped with core engineering skills, complemented by understanding of how engineering both affects and is affected by environmental and social factors/dimensions. Stepping outside of the traditional academic delivery box, the course enrols students with different backgrounds and experiences, with an equal balance of engineers and non-engineers taking theoretical modules, each delivered intensively over a two-week period and structured around real-life projects. The curriculum is centred around transdisciplinary learning using a project-based learning approach with year-long projects in development contexts, following key principles of global service learning. This paper explores the first three years of course delivery, through the lenses of four academics involved in course conception, curriculum design, delivery and development, each from the different perspectives of social science, internationalisation, engineering education and engineering practice.
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    Teaching sustainable design through simultaneous evaluation of economics and environmental impacts
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-14) Yenkie, Kirti M.; Chea, John D.; Aboagye, Emmanuel A.; Savelski, Mariano J.; Slater, C. Stewart; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Rowan University
    The ever-increasing human population and industrial growth have posed a considerable burden on existing resources and have led to an increase in environmental pollution and climate change. The Engineering Clinics offered at the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering at Rowan University is the hallmark of our program that enables our undergraduate students to actively participate in solving real-world problems through collaborative activities. Our graduate students get an opportunity to engage in stakeholder (i.e., industries, federal and regional funding agencies) interactions and student mentoring in conjunction with developing their research ability. Thus, through these synergistic undergraduate-graduate-faculty- stakeholder collaborations this work envisions to develop awareness about sustainable design and environmental impact in the community. The clinic problems include; (i) solvent recovery in process industries, and (ii) systematic synthesis of wastewater treatment (WWT) networks. These problems are important because imprudent use of industrial solvents and water resources have exacerbated the challenges relating to availability, quality as well as safe disposal of harmful solvents and wastewater. Through these challenging and relevant problems, we can teach our students multiple skills such as information collection, selective extraction of valuable content, economic and sustainability evaluation of multiple pathways through mathematical modeling, computer programming, technical writing, and presentation. The overall impact of these efforts is evident in the peer-reviewed conference and journal publications, oral and poster presentations at regional and national conferences, as well as our students choosing careers which value sustainability.
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    A tool for introducing Social Life Cycle Assessment of products and feedback from its users
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-14) Vakhitova, Tatiana V.; Ashby, Mike F.
    Product design involves the choice of materials, the processes used to shape them, transport modes, characteristics of the way the product is used and of its disposal at end of life. All of these influence the environmental impact of product life, now much studied using sophisticated (environmental) life-cycle assessment (E-LCA) tools. They also have social impacts that can be negative or positive contribute to either negative or positive social and environmental impact. The study of these is much more recent, stimulated initially by the UNEP / SETAC "Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA) of Products" (UNEP/SETAC Guidelines) of 2009, and now gathering traction across the LCA community. We have developed an Excel-based Social Impact Audit Tool (the Tool) following the UNEP / SETAC guidelines. Its primary aim is one of education, introducing students to the UNEP / SETAC methodology, providing data about social norms and practices in the Nations of the world, and allowing case studies for activity-based learning. The Tool flags social hotspots, highlighting the points in the life of a product at which potential harmful practices or opportunities to enhance well-being exist. The Tool is accompanied by a White Paper explaining its use and providing examples of its use. In a real world this type of analytics can be used, for instance, for CSR strategies on how to improve local conditions in locations in which a company operates. The paper describes feedback from trialling the Tool at several universities, reporting on the expected and received learning outcomes; the ease of use and the clarity of the information provided; and how well the expectations were met.
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    Sustainability, pandemia and women in academia: breaking the “good girl” culture to enhance sustainability in engineering education
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-14) Tsalaporta, Eleni; Kyte, Elizabeth; Sousa-Gallagher, Maria J.
    We would all agree that the role of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising quality of life for future generations. We would agree that sustainable development relies on ending discrimination towards women and providing equal opportunities for education and employment. Gender equality has been conclusively shown to stimulate economic growth, which is crucial for low-income countries. We would also agree that there has been a lot of research in relation to sustainable development in engineering education, indicating that the subject of sustainability may help increase participation of women in engineering. But in reality, how can we teach our students sustainable development and promote the role of females in engineering, when the engineering education is so unsustainable for female academics? Academic women have long made the compromises in terms of the double burden of domestic and paid work, as well as to their personal life choices and well-being, yet academia and higher education institutions have simply not made the working environment a more just and sustainable space for women. During the pandemic, these inequities were exacerbated by the loss of educational provision, now delivered online and facilitated by, in the majority of cases, mothers. The precarity of childcare, now makes the question of the unsustainability of female academic’s lives unavoidable. Women have been literally and figuratively left holding the baby during this crisis. We are at a critical juncture where we have the opportunity as academics, to reimagine the post-pandemic community, and create a more socially just and sustainable balance in our lives. This issue exceeds academia; it is actually the culture that dictates women to be “good girls”; to comply with the patriarchal system. While there is nothing wrong about being a good person, the “good girl” label has a completely different meaning and impact on the life and career of women. “Good girl” is the one who cares about the others, seeks their approval, has no needs or ambitions, is quiet, kind, willing to please everyone, to get everything right the first time, is not allowed to make mistakes, has to sacrifice herself, and to be perfect and above all else, not to challenge the system or to call out all the specifically gendered ways in which the impact of the system marginalises and hurts women. The “good girl” culture has been a big burden for women in academia in general, having a detrimental impact to the career development of female academics in particular in the male dominated sector of engineering education. During the pandemic, it has been taken for granted that women would deliver on all fronts. It is well document that women’s work is often invisible, both in the domestic and public spheres [1]. Although common to all disciplines, the impacts of bias and stereotypes are particularly pronounced in engineering [2]. Female academics please their students, line managers, colleagues and family, leaving behind themselves, their research and other necessary elements for their progression. They are never considered equally good, impactful, and successful, as their male colleagues. As a matter of fact, women in engineering education experience more grade appeals and receive lower course evaluations than their white male counterparts [3], being discriminated by students, administrators and academics, while their efforts and ideas are being constantly discounted. There is nothing sustainable about this. This paper proposes effective actions to tackle the “good girl” expectations for female academics, enhancing sustainability, implementing a fit-for-purpose change of the culture system across school, with targeted and consistent actions, actively promoting the needs of female academics.
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    Emotional intelligence for sustainable engineering education: Incorporating soft skills in the capstone chemical engineering capstone design project
    (University College Cork, 2021-06-14) Tsalaporta, Eleni
    Chemical engineering students in universities across the world are involved in at least one chemical engineering design project during their studies. Traditionally, the concept of design in chemical engineering education has been associated with the design of processes, equipment and products, with extensive focus in technical knowledge, creative thinking, problem solving, common sense and efficiency. But are these skills enough for chemical engineering graduates to shine and make a difference in their careers? While engineering education focuses on the establishment of hard skills, it pays little or no attention to the soft skills that are necessary for the careers of engineering graduates. Conversely, sustainable engineering education considers soft/social skills, such as the ability to work in teams, empathy, self-motivation and self-regulation, a key element of engineering curricula. In order to maximise the potential of sustainable engineering education and prepare the students for the real work life challenges, in a team-driven learning format, as opposed to a student-centred approach, a “collaborative working strategy” (Mitchell, 2008) was introduced to the capstone design project. A personality mapping and a set of collaborating working values and behaviours were introduced as part of the project, in order to examine the extent to which emotional intelligence enhances collaborative teamwork in engineering education. More specifically, the students were asked to map their personalities and working styles in order to explore the dynamics of their team. The personality test that was used for this purpose was “The Insights Discovery, the colour personality test”, based on Carl Jung’s model for personality types. Having mapped their working style strengths and weaknesses, the teams were asked to adhere to a set of values including 1) common goal and unity of purpose, 2) team trust, 3) interdependence, 4) accountability and 5) effective feedback. These values were used as a guideline for effective communication, while the students were asked to monitor, list and reflect on the collaborative working behaviours of them and their peers, as part of their weekly tasks. The preliminary findings of this ongoing study have indicated that emotional intelligence enhances the effectiveness of project team working, providing the necessary evidence that emotional intelligence holds a dominant role in sustainable engineering education and should be part of the engineering curriculum.