1887

Abstract

Neither current engineering curricula, nor existing professional and international development organizations, will be sufficient to create engineers who can productively engage with the grand challenges and the ‘wicked’ problems in which they are embedded. There is a need to develop multi-disciplinary coursework and extracurricular learning experiences, and enacting these changes can benefit from a new type of institution, ‘topical networks’, that support local coursework and extracurricular activities and connect multiple stakeholders and disciplines around broad and important topics. We describe potential benefits to three core stakeholder groups - students, faculty, and universities - from engaging with such an organization, using the case study of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW).

Networks help students by improving the resilience of local chapters and supporting projects through grants or mentorship, provide faculty with curriculum materials that can be localized to avoid designing bespoke courses in a resource-scarce environment, and allow universities to leverage a broader geographic and disciplinary scope to find people or partners that are not locally available. Topical networks also focus on enabling all three of these groups to share knowledge about best practices and benefit from others' experience. The presence of topical networks at a college or university can provide separate value from professional societies or international development groups while collaborating with them at the local level, and simultaneously address barriers to change within the existing curriculum.

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2015-08-29
2019-12-13
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