Embedding sustainability in the curriculum; enabling engineering take centre stage

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Byrne-WCCE-2009.pdf(58.12 KB)
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Byrne, Edmond P.
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World Congress of Chemical Engineering
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Sustainability has been assuming a more central role within chemical engineering curricula and throughout engineering education as a whole. Meanwhile however, engineering has been fighting an uphill battle to attract a consistent proportion of high quality recruits as the profession suffers from a low public profile and uninspiring image. Engineers are generally seen (and see themselves) as uncritical agents of economic and technological development who simply take direction from policy makers and paymasters, albeit ones that provide innovative technical solutions for society. This sells the profession far short and drains from engineering much of the inspiration, excitement and opportunity to “make the world a better place”. Engineering curricula with sustainability embedded as core would however, particularly in the case of chemical engineering, provide a unique opportunity to; - align the curriculum with the policy lead taken by several professional institutions and hence realign the professional ethos, vision, role, practice and image of engineers. - position engineers to play a more central role in shaping society through influencing policy and debate on creating a sustainable society, and hence increase the visibility, importance, status and reputation of the profession. - act as a powerful marketing tool for prospective engineering students.
Engineering education , Sustainability , Professional ethics , Society , Environment , Enrolment , Engineering profession
Byrne, E.P., 2009. Embedding sustainability in the curriculum; enabling engineering take centre stage. In: WCCE8: Challenges for a Changing World. 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering. Montreal, Quebec, Canada 23-27 August 2009.