Within industries, governments, and accreditation organizations, there has been a push to incorporate sustainability concepts into engineering education. Universities like Boise State University (BSU) are starting to place greater emphasis on the inclusion of sustainability concepts in different engineering program curricula. As part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the BSU mechanical engineering program is integrating sustainability concepts specifically by using active learning modules (ALMs) suitable for each level of student education, progressing from freshman to senior. ALMs have shown to be more effective in improving motivation in the classroom compared to traditional learning. To measure motivation, a modified survey instrument was developed for distribution to BSU mechanical engineering (ME) students and alumni; both the student and alumni survey was modified using the American Society of Mechanical Engineerings’ (ASME) 2008 sustainability survey with a combination of a study by Natasha Lanziner (2017). Current mechanical engineering students were surveyed to gauge their knowledge and attitudes towards sustainability in the curriculum, and mechanical engineering alumni were surveyed to determine which sustainability practices are utilized in their workplace. By applying a quantitative approach to the survey instrument, Boise State Engineering students and alumni will have the opportunity to express their perception of BSU’s current integration of sustainability concepts. The quantitative data will be interpreted through a statistical analysis using Python. The data presents common sustainability trends based on the gender demographics of both students and alumni data. Specifically, the student data illustrates their general thoughts regarding ALMs and sustainability; most students, especially women, showed interest in sustainability when they were exposed to a BSU alumni applying sustainability into their design work. As a general trend based on the alumni data, women also tended to feel less confident in applying sustainability into their design work but were more interested in the concept than men. This paper will be used to suggest improvements in ALMs related to sustainability concepts at Boise State University.
© 2022, American Society for Engineering Education, Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN
Perez, Karen and Plumlee, Donald. (2022). "Measuring Engineering Students’ Engagement in Sustainability Design Concepts". 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, 37912.