Engaging a multiple-track approach to building capacity for 21st Century engineering, opportunities and challenges for rapid curriculum renewal
Keywords090701 Environmental Engineering Design
130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
130212 Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Dual track approach
model for deliberative and dynamic curriculum renewal
Systemativ and intentional curriculum renewal
Engineering education for sustainable development
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Abstract‘Complexity’ is a term that is increasingly prevalent in conversations about building capacity for 21st Century professional engineers. Society is grappling with the urgent and challenging reality of accommodating seven billion people, meeting needs and innovating lifestyle improvements in ways that do not destroy atmospheric, biological and oceanic systems critical to life. Over the last two decades in particular, engineering educators have been active in attempting to build capacity amongst professionals to deliver ‘sustainable development’ in this rapidly changing global context. However curriculum literature clearly points to a lack of significant progress, with efforts best described as ad hoc and highly varied. Given the limited timeframes for action to curb environmental degradation proposed by scientists and intergovernmental agencies, the authors of this paper propose it is imperative that curriculum renewal towards education for sustainable development proceeds rapidly, systemically, and in a transformational manner. Within this context, the paper discusses the need to consider a multiple track approach to building capacity for 21st Century engineering, including priorities and timeframes for undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum renewal. The paper begins with a contextual discussion of the term complexity and how it relates to life in the 21st Century. The authors then present a whole of system approach for planning and implementing rapid curriculum renewal that addresses the critical roles of several generations of engineering professionals over the next three decades. The paper concludes with observations regarding engaging with this approach in the context of emerging accreditation requirements and existing curriculum renewal frameworks.
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