Sustainability and Resiliency (S&R) concepts have risen to prominence in recent years. The concept of incorporating sustainability into civil engineering became popular in the late 1980s during the advent of the construction industry’s first sustainable assessment system for office buildings with more or less equally weighted environmental, economic, and social aspects (Bocchini et al. 2013). The concept of resilience is usually associated with extreme events during the life of civil infrastructure. In the past decade, engineers have achieved a reduction in direct and indirect losses from hazards by incorporating resilience concepts into their work. Teaching these concepts to future civil engineers is of paramount importance. Faculty at several institutions are leveraging stand-alone S&R educational materials such as those available through the Center for Sustainable Engineering, Sustainable Engineering Education Key Resources Repository and other such sources. However, there are several issues with this approach. For example, most civil engineering programs implement sustainability concepts in freshman, sophomore and senior years, which clearly indicates a junior year gap. Students gain sub-discipline specific knowledge during the junior year. It would be prudent to show students how S&R applies in each of these sub-disciplines. Existing piecemeal approaches to incorporating S&R concepts and skills at different points in the curriculum leads to students struggling to develop a coherent understanding of S&R. In addition, many existing efforts are focused on sustainability content with very limited focus on resiliency aspects.
These issues suggest a clear need for improvement. This paper will discuss one such improvement where S&R concepts are permeated into the CE curriculum via Active Learning Modules (ALMs) and Design Tasks (DTs) developed to be incorporated into existing CE courses from freshman to senior year. A total of twelve courses were selected for this purpose and separate ALMs for sustainability and resiliency were developed for each of freshmen through junior-level courses. Design tasks were developed for the senior-level classes with the intent to challenge students to apply the concepts taught in earlier courses. The paper will include descriptions of each of the ALMs and how they are incorporated in each course; moreover, experience gained while developing and implementing these modules will also be shared. To understand the effects of incorporating S&R content into the CE curriculum via these ALMs, a variety of qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Preliminary results show both a strong need for instruction related to S&R concepts and establish the effectiveness of the ALM approach.
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