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Diffusion of Sustainable Systems Engineering Through Interdisciplinary Graduate and Undergraduate Education at the University of Michigan

[+] Author Affiliations
Steven J. Skerlos, Kim F. Hayes, Julie B. Zimmerman, W. Ross Morrow

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. IMECE2003-42356, pp. 599-606; 8 pages
  • ASME 2003 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Manufacturing
  • Washington, DC, USA, November 15–21, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Manufacturing Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3720-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-4663-6, 0-7918-4664-4, 0-7918-4665-2
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


This paper provides specific examples of sustainability education programs within the engineering curriculum at The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (UM). These programs exist at the undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. levels of education. At the undergraduate level, a basic literacy program has been initiated to give each graduating mechanical engineer from UM the understanding required to make design decisions less impacting on the environment. The program is designed as an educational thread consisting of three (3) course modules corresponding to each of three required courses in the Design and Manufacturing sequence in the mechanical engineering department. To compliment the thread, a new joint course between mechanical and environmental engineering in Environmentally Sustainable Engineering is under development to serve as the cornerstone undergraduate course in environmental education for the UM College of Engineering (CoE). At the Masters level, the ConsEnSus (Concentrations in Environmental Sustainability) Program is described. This program has been introduced to enhance general environmental literacy and to prepare students to integrate environmental principles into professional practice. Similarly, a joint Ph.D. program has also been developed between CoE and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment to prepare students for a career in research and education related to sustainable engineering. Both ConsEnSus and the Ph.D. program are supported by a course entitled Principles of Eco-Design and Manufacturing. This course, and the graduate and undergraduate programs it supports, is part of a college-wide effort to make Sustainable Systems Engineering a reality in practice by disseminating operational definitions of sustainability targeted to specific engineering disciplines.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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