Keywords: curriculum design, engineering education, construction education, sustainability, sustainable development, green issues, degree programmes, internship, university curricula, higher education, USA, United States
Strategic entry points for sustainability in university construction and engineering curricula
Interest is growing regarding incorporating sustainability throughout university curricula, but the already full palette of educational requirements means that common tactics of adding new elective courses tend to isolate the concept and pit them against other courses in the curriculum. This paper presents six strategic entry points for sustainability in a typical construction– or engineering–oriented curriculum: infiltrating the core; adding electives; coordinating complementary courses; sprinkling sustainability throughout; providing opportunities outside the classroom; and integrating campus operations. It compares the pedagogical costs and benefits of each approach and shares lessons learned from experiences at two leading US universities: Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. This paper discusses opportunities in terms of three perspectives on the pedagogy of sustainability: stealthy, flagrant, and a combination of the two. This paper concludes with a discussion of considerations that should be taken into account when evaluating the potential for sustainability in new educational contexts.