Sustainability as a Route to Broadening Participation in Engineering

TitleSustainability as a Route to Broadening Participation in Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKlotz, L, Potvin, G, Godwin, A, Cribbs, J, Hazari, Z, Barclay, N
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Date Published2014
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number10694730
AbstractSustainability is increasingly a vital consideration for engineers. Improved understanding of how attention to sustainability influences student major and career choice could inform efforts to broaden participation in engineering. Purpose Two related questions guided our research. How do career outcome expectations related to sustainability predict the choice of an engineering career? Which broader sustainability-related outcomes do students perceive as related to engineering? To address both questions, we compared effects for engineering and nonengineering students while controlling for various confounding variables. Students who hope to address certain sustainability issues such as energy, climate change, environmental degradation, and water supply are more likely to pursue engineering. Those who hope to address other sustainability issues such as opportunities for women and minorities, poverty, and disease are less likely to do so. Students hoping to address sustainability-related outcome expectations with obvious human relevance are less likely to pursue engineering. Yet those students who perceive 'improving quality of life' and 'saving lives' as associated with engineering are more likely to pursue the profession. Conclusions Our results suggest that showing students the connection between certain sustainability issues and engineering careers could help those striving to increase and diversify participation in engineering. A broader range of engineers would likely bring new ideas and ways of thinking to engineering for sustainability. 
NotesKlotz, Leidy 1 Potvin, Geoff 2 Godwin, Allison 1 Cribbs, Jennifer 3 Hazari, Zahra 2 Barclay, Nicole 1; Affiliation: 1: Clemson University 2: Florida International University 3: Western Kentucky University; Source Info: Jan2014, Vol. 103 Issue 1, p137; Subject Term: ENGINEERING -- Study & teaching; Subject Term: ENGINEERS -- Research; Subject Term: CAREER development; Subject Term: RESEARCH; Subject Term: CLIMATIC changes -- Research; Subject Term: ENGINEERING students -- Research; Author-Supplied Keyword: diversity; Author-Supplied Keyword: participation; Author-Supplied Keyword: sustainability; NAICS/Industry Codes: 624310 Vocational Rehabilitation Services; NAICS/Industry Codes: 611430 Professional and Management Development Training; Number of Pages: 17p; Document Type: Article