A holistic approach to delivering sustainable design education in civil engineering

Chandra Mouli Vemury, Oliver Heidrich, Neil Thorpe, Tracey Crosbie
2018 International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education  
Purpose -This paper presents 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 -The research presented takes an action-based approach to the
more » ... approach to the development of a teaching and assessment model centred on problem-based and project-based learning in a real world context. Findings -Due to 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-based 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 highlevel strategies of HE 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.
doi:10.1108/ijshe-04-2017-0049 fatcat:o6uqh76nofbezl6hbnngxeiuwy