A Holistic Approach to Delivering Sustainable Design Education in Civil Engineering

Chandra Vemury, Oliver Heidrich, Neil Thorpe, Tracey Crosbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present pedagogical approaches developed and implemented to
deliver sustainable design education (SDE) to second-year undergraduate students on civil engineering
programmes in the (then) School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University. In doing so,
the work presented offers an example of how to help students understand the contested and contingent nature
of sustainability.
Design/methodology/approach

The research presented takes an action-based approach to the
development of a teaching and assessment model centered on problem- and project-based learning in a real-
world context.
Findings

Because of the use of a design brief, which addresses a practical infrastructure problem
encountered by regional communities, the academic team were able to make arguments related to the three
pillars of sustainability more accessible to the students. This suggests that pedagogical instruments based on
problem- and project-based learning strategies are effective in delivering SDE.
Practical implications

The successful delivery of SDE requires commitment from the senior
management teams leading individual departments as well as commitments embedded in the high-level
strategies of Higher Education institutions. It was also found that some students need extra support from the
teaching staff if their engagement through SDE is to be successful. This has practical implications for the
amount of contact time built into undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.
Originality/value

The teaching and assessment model presented in this paper addresses various
substantive and normative issues associated with SDE making it relevant and transferable to courses other
than civil engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-216
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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holistic approach
Civil engineering
Education
engineering
Students
education
Sustainable development
Teaching
student
sustainability
commitment
learning strategy
Ecodesign
contact
infrastructure
staff
methodology
school
learning
community

Cite this

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title = "A Holistic Approach to Delivering Sustainable Design Education in Civil Engineering",
abstract = "Purpose–The purpose of this paper is to present pedagogical approaches developed and implemented todeliver sustainable design education (SDE) to second-year undergraduate students on civil engineeringprogrammes in the (then) School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University. In doing so,the work presented offers an example of how to help students understand the contested and contingent natureof sustainability.Design/methodology/approach–The research presented takes an action-based approach to thedevelopment of a teaching and assessment model centered on problem- and project-based learning in a real-world context.Findings–Because of the use of a design brief, which addresses a practical infrastructure problemencountered by regional communities, the academic team were able to make arguments related to the threepillars of sustainability more accessible to the students. This suggests that pedagogical instruments based onproblem- and project-based learning strategies are effective in delivering SDE.Practical implications–The successful delivery of SDE requires commitment from the seniormanagement teams leading individual departments as well as commitments embedded in the high-levelstrategies of Higher Education institutions. It was also found that some students need extra support from theteaching staff if their engagement through SDE is to be successful. This has practical implications for theamount of contact time built into undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.Originality/value–The teaching and assessment model presented in this paper addresses varioussubstantive and normative issues associated with SDE making it relevant and transferable to courses otherthan civil engineering.",
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A Holistic Approach to Delivering Sustainable Design Education in Civil Engineering. / Vemury, Chandra; Heidrich, Oliver; Thorpe, Neil; Crosbie, Tracey.

In: International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 197-216.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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