Educating engineers in the sustainable futures model with a global perspective

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The solutions to the world's current and future problems require that engineers and scientists design and construct ecologically and socially just systems within the carrying capacity of nature without compromising future generations. In addition, as governments move towards policies that promote an international marketplace, educators need to prepare students to succeed in the global economy. Young people entering the workforce in the upcoming decades will also have the opportunity to play a critical role in the eradication of poverty and hunger and facilitation of sustainable development, appropriate technology, beneficial infrastructure, and promotion of change that is environmentally and socially just. Many universities espouse the idea that discipline integration is a prerequisite for successful implementation of sustainability in education. However, few engineering curriculum have taken the step to integrate concepts of sustainable development with an international experience. This paper discusses the educational and global drivers for curricular change in this important area and demonstrates how several undergraduate and graduate programmes initiated at Michigan Technological University can provide a more interdisciplinary basis for educating engineers on global concepts of sustainability. To date, these programmes have taken place in 21 countries and reached approximately 300 students (49% women) that represent 11 engineering disciplines and nine non-engineering disciplines.

Publication Title

Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems