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Conference Paper

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EESD2021: Proceedings of the 10th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, 'Building Flourishing Communities'


Inclusivity and sustainability are becoming integral to the successful delivery of engineering course content. Teaching strategies that incorporate both are gaining momentum globally for engineering educators. Inclusive teaching strategies are based on making all students in the classroom feel valued and equal contributors. Strategies are based on developing curricular material that addresses students from a diverse background (socioeconomic status, race, gender, ethnicity, preferred orientation) and varying earning abilities. Research has shown that inclusive teaching strategies allow instructors to engage and bond with their students and the students bond with the course content. ABET, the accreditation arm for engineering programs has also identified that student outcomes address engineering design that integrates sustainability, ethics and the impact of engineering solutions in a global context. As such engineering educators are challenged to integrate all these concepts in courses that have a finite time for delivery of technical core content. The Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Rowan University initiated an effort titled "Sustainability Across the Curriculum" in 2008. The department received NSF RED funding in 2017 for a grant titled "Revolutionizing Engineering Diversity (RevED)". The goal of this project is to revolutionize the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department by radically increasing diversity and retention of women and Underrepresented Minority (URM) students and historically underserved groups. There are five major objectives of this grant: 1. Revise admissions criteria 2. Provide D&I (Diversity & Inclusivity) training to faculty and administrators 3. Integrate D&I concepts in core civil engineering courses 4. Mentoring programs to help retain students 5. Expose role models from industry/academia This paper addresses the changes made to Fluid Mechanics, Water Resources Engineering, Sustainable Civil and Environmental Engineering and Environmental Engineering (Water and Wastewater Treatment & Design) courses to integrate inclusive content that also focused on sustainability, global, ethical, social and racial injustices. Each course was assessed at the end of each semester to evaluate the impact of the changes on the course. Our Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 course assessments are extremely promising. Students in focus groups were also included for feedback. The assessment tools indicate that the courses are covering the concepts well.


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