Infusing sustainability principles into manufacturing/mechanical engineering curricula

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Sustainability issues are increasingly important among governments, consumers, and corporations around the world. Many companies are directing their resources to reduce the environmental impact of their products and services. To remain competitive in the global economy, these companies must recruit employees who understand the impact of their decisions on the environment and society, while at the same time influencing the company's bottom line. It is the mission of universities to prepare these future employees to meet this need. A group of faculty and students in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University is working to address this growing demand. This paper assesses the current undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum at Michigan Tech with regard to sustainability and identifies barriers to incorporating sustainability throughout the curriculum. A benchmarking study, progress made at Michigan Tech, and a vision for the future of the mechanical engineering curriculum are presented. © 2006 Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

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Journal of Manufacturing Systems