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Interaction of Undergraduate Research and Sustainable System Engineering Baccalaureate Program Development

[+] Author Affiliations
Aaron Brown, Jeno Balogh, Runing Zhang

Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO

Paper No. IMECE2016-65385, pp. V005T06A039; 8 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5057-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


With the success of post-graduate programs in a wide range of individual sustainable development subjects such as environmental sustainability, sustainable manufacturing, infrastructure sustainability, etc. it was recognized that there was a void in undergraduate opportunity related to these areas. Consequently, the time seems appropriate for offering a relevant baccalaureate program to create a pipeline of students educated from a systems perspective in sustainable engineering practices that might feed into postgraduate programs, as well as fill a need in government and industry. This paper presents how undergraduate research supports engineering education linked to sustainable practices and influenced the development of a new degree program in Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver). Two projects are discussed which represent an approach using sustainable systems methodology: one in the area of new sustainable structural systems and the other in development of water filtration devices to be used in Sustainable Community Development (SCD) projects. Additionally, the research on novel multi-composite structural members for new construction as well as retrofits that could be used in conjunction with solar heating technology was used as a pilot instrument in engineering courses to emphasize to students the application of sustainable engineering practices in design and holistic problem solving. This paper describes the curriculum development of the SSE program that was driven in part by these experiences. Discussed is the contribution of this applied learning approach as a contributing influence to a number of courses in the new program such as Mathematical Modeling, Structural Modeling, Humanitarian Engineering, and Sustainable Systems Design. Moreover, it discusses how these courses have been designed to incorporate elements of Undergraduate Research as part of the learning experience.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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