Embedding sustainability to produce an award winning chemical engineering programme: some challenges and learnings

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Byrne, Edmond P.
Fitzpatrick, John J.
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Since writing about the ‘the need to embed sustainability’ into chemical engineering programmes in a 2009 paper (Byrne & Fitzpatrick, 2009), the authors have endeavoured to walk the walk by helping embed sustainability into the Process & Chemical Engineering undergraduate degree programme at University College Cork. This has been achieved both through the development of ‘primary’ bespoke modules with explicit sustainability related foci, as well as through the development of a coherent sustainability related context right throughout the programme, and across modules more generally. Nearly a decade on, this approach yielded international recognition, with a successful submission by the authors on behalf of their programme, which resulted in the award of the 2016 Teaching Sustainability Award by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), an award given with the purpose of ‘encouraging the development of better approaches to integrating sustainability principles and values into undergraduate teaching’ among IChemE accredited programmes globally. This paper provides a reflective account of the evolution (in thinking and practice) made to the Process & Chemical Engineering degree at University College Cork over the past number of years on its sustainability journey, from the perspective of the authors who have championed this journey, and demonstrates how a confluences of various environmental factors, operating at various levels, can help facilitate iterative change and development.
Sustainability , Engineering education
Byrne, E. P. and Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2018) 'Embedding sustainability to produce an award winning chemical engineering programme: some challenges and learnings', EESD 2018: 9th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey, 3-6 June.
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