Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32727
Training Engineering Students in Sustainable Development

Authors: Hoong C. Chin, Soon H. Chew, Zhaoxia Wang


Work on sustainable developments and the call for action in education for sustainable development have been ongoing for a number of years. Training engineering students with the relevant competencies, particularly in sustainable development literacy, has been identified as an urgent task in universities. This requires not only a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to education but also a suitable training environment to develop the needed skills and to inculcate the appropriate attitudes in students towards sustainable development. To demonstrate how this can be done, a module involving an overseas field trip was introduced in 2013 at the National University of Singapore. This paper provides details of the module and describes its training philosophy and methods. Measured against the student learning outcomes, stipulated by the Engineering Accreditation Board, the module scored well on all of them, particularly those related to complex problem solving, environmental and sustainability awareness, multi-disciplinary team work and varied-level communications.

Keywords: Civil engineering education, student learning outcomes, sustainable development.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1320


[1] Bruntland, G., Our Common Future: The World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford Press, 1987.
[2] Earth Summit, UN Conference on Environment & Development, UN Sustainable Development, Rio de Janerio, 1992.
[3] Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, UN Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, 2002.
[4] The future we want – outcome Document, UN Conference on Sustainable Development, UN Sustainable Development, Rio de Janerio, 2012.
[5] Draft Outcome Document, UN Summit for adoption of post-2015 development agenda, New York, 2015.
[6] UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, UN Education for Sustainable Development, 2005.
[7] UNESCO, UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development: Bonn Declaration, Paris, 2009.
[8] UNESCO, Nagoya Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainable Development, International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development, Nagoya, 2014.
[9] Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2014.
[10] Cebrian, G., Junyet, M., Competencies in education for sustainable development: exploring the student teachers’ view, Sustainability Vol 7, pp 2768-2786, 2015.
[11] Al-Rawahy, K.H., Engineering Education and Sustainable Development: the Missing Link, Procedia Social and Behavioural Sciences, Vol 102, 2013, pp. 392-401.
[12] Edwards, M., Alvarez-Sanchez, D., Sanchez-Ruiz, L.M., Engineering education and competencies for sustainability education in Spain, International Conference on Engineering Education, Coimbra, Portugal. 2007.
[13] Segalas, J., Ferrer-Balas, D, Mulder, K.F., Introducing Sustainable Development in Engineering Education: Competencies, Pedagogy and Curriculum, European Society for Engineering Education Conference, Rotterdam, 2009.
[14] Parkin, S., Johnston, A., Burckland, H., Brookes, F., White, E., Learning and skills for sustainable development – developing a sustainable literate society, Forum for the Future, Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability, 2004.
[15] Desha, C.J. K., Hargroves, C., Smith, M.H., Stasinopoulos, P., The importance of sustainability in engineering education: A toolkit of information and teaching material, Engineering Training & Learning Conference, 2007.
[16] Penlington, R., Steiner, S., An introduction to sustainable development in the engineering curriculum, Centre for Engineering and Design Education, Loughborough University, 2010.
[17] GDEE, Integrating Global Dimension in Engineering Education into teaching: theory and practice, 2014.
[18] Dawe, G., Jucker, R., Martin, S., Sustainable development in higher education: current practice and future developments. Higher Education Academy, 2005.
[19] Ashford, N., Major challengers to engineering education for sustainable development: What has to change to make it creative, effective and acceptable to the established disciplines? International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 2004.
[20] Keirstead, J., Introducing sustainable development to engineers with a simple mathematical model, Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, Cambridge, 2013.
[21] Bacon, C. M., Mulvaney, D., Ball, T.B., DuPuis, E.M., Gliessman, S.R., Lipschutz, R.D., Shakouri, A., The creation of an integrated sustainability curriculum and student praxis projects, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2011. Pp. 193-208.
[22] World Federation of Engineering Organizations, WFEO Engineers for a sustainable post 2015, Congress on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, 2015.
[23] IEA, Graduate attributes and professional competencies, International Engineering Alliance, 2013W.-K. Chen, Linear Networks and Systems (Book style). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1993, pp. 123–135.