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Engineering Impact: Summer 2022

Summer 2022

Rethinking Sophomore Year in Environmental and Ecological Engineering

by College of Engineering

Undergraduate Education

Most Environmental and Ecological Engineering (EEE) courses are only taught once per year, with minimal instructor overlap. This creates challenges in the agility of the program to respond to changing needs of students, to accommodate new opportunities for students and faculty, and potentially in the overall time to degree for students.

EEE is proposing an agile reform of selected core courses that will maintain timeliness to degree and enhance flexibility to allow students to “do more in four.” The proposed reform will reinvent the sophomore year by examining, redesigning, and cohesively integrating three courses: EEE 250 (Environmental, Ecological and Engineering Systems); EEE 300 (Environmental and Ecological Systems Modeling); and EEE 430 (Industrial Ecology and Life Cycle Analysis). The outcome of the reform will translate nine required credits (three courses) into six sophomore modules that can be completed in two consecutive semesters regardless of the student start point.

Additionally, with the recovered three credits, EEE will introduce an elective category that is required to be fulfilled with experiential learning coursework (e.g., Vertically Integrated Projects, Study Abroad, global competencies, or service learning). It’s anticipated that by modularizing these courses, more instructors will be able to rotate into teaching portions of the sophomore year, providing a breadth of exposure of faculty to students. This will also allow faculty to devote recognized teaching effort to the development and execution of experiential courses and other advanced technical electives.

These experiences form collaborative partnerships with practitioners and community members toward solving real-world problems through creativity, community engagement, negotiation and consensus building, as well as compromise. They also highlight the ways in which technological solutions intersect with socio-environmental justice and how these issues affect a variety of interest groups.

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