Last week, Engineers Without Borders UK published my team’s research in the form of the GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY OF ENGINEERING REPORT. The EWB-UK webpage about the report explains “Drawing on the experience of engineers working in the built environment sector, our latest report explores the extent to which global responsibility is embedded in engineering practice.”
The report is rich visually, and also in content:
The qualitative research reported in this publication was conducted by me, with support from my University College London colleagues, Dr. Inês Direito and Professor John Mitchell, and with advice from the EWB staff and its project Advisory Board.
Through a study of existing literature and interviews with engineers working in the built environment sector, in this report, we highlight the existing understanding and role of global responsibility as a concept within the sector. We explore the following: What is understood by global responsibility in engineering, and what are some of the preceding concepts that have led to this point? How well is the urgency for adopting a globally responsible approach in engineering grasped? To what extent do engineers feel it is their responsibility to take action and what is accelerating or dampening that?
Engineers Without Borders UK (2022)
EWB staff members helped transform my team’s research into the report format commonly used in the UK. They also provided the report’s case studies, photographs, and illustrations. EWB staff who were instrumental in shaping the delivery were: Dr. Jonathan Truslove, Katie Cresswell-Maynard, and Emma Crichton.
Advisory Board members providing conceptual direction included: Jon Prichard, Dr. Rob Lawlor, Thomas Gunter, Professor Nick Tyler, Dr. Rhys Morgan, and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Education and Skills Committee.
The correct citation for this publication, based on APA guidelines includes the authors’ names:
I’d like to give special thanks to my colleagues at UCL (Inês, John and Nick) as well as the University of Leed’s Dr. Rob Lawlor for their encouragement and support throughout this project. I also send thanks to the EWB team for getting the publication across the finish line.
As a result of many people’s hard work, the report delivers our research findings to a new audience. You can find other outputs of the research project in two academic journal articles published by the UCL team, and you can download them directly, using the links below:
I’ve been covering more ground these days than normal. In a typical year, I’d never have been able to take time away from teaching during the fall semester to attend so many conferences. But this year, everything is online.
This past Sunday, I was able to deliver a two-hour workshop in India and then record a keynote speech for a conference in China. I also recently spoke on a panel in Malaysia.
I have never been to any of these places, though I would truly love to go! Nevertheless, digital platforms have allowed me to be an active part of discussions all around the world.
Here’s a sneak peek at my keynote speech for the Chinese Society for Engineering Education’s 15th International Symposium on Science and Education Development Strategy.
The Symposium’s theme was “Innovation of Engineering Education System under Global Challenges”.
The production quality isn’t flawless, but given that I had ZERO tech support, I am proud of the outcome. I tested various apps for superimposing video over the slides, selected one, and managed to produce this video. All. On. My. Own.
The folks in China are polishing it up now, and hopefully inserting captions. It will be formally presented at the conference in Hangzhou, China on December 10th, 2020.
Being asked to deliver a workshop for the Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE), I invited two colleagues along to help. Inês Direito, Manish Malik, and I have conducted similar workshops in the past, and we built on that foundation. We developed our past work further for the workshop we delivered November 22th, 2020.
Ours was on component of a set of workshops to help people in India build research skills in engineering education.
We provided An introduction to literature reviews in Engineering Education.
Here’s a link to our slides, which we have assigned a CC-BY license so others are free to draw from our work as long as they cite us.
Alternatively, you can click any of these images to view the slide presentation.
Here’s a pic of one of our team’s workshop prep sessions:
I also got my colleagues involved when I was invited to serve on a panel in Malaysia. Actually, I was invited to serve on two panels for this conference, but one occurred 1-3 AM my time, and I decided to stick to the one held during daylight hours! After all, I was teaching here in Dublin on the same days as the conference.
The speakers from the Women in Engineering plenary are pictured above. They were absolutely amazing. Such inspiring leadership and fabulous work! The speakers were:
Rosmiwati Mohd-Mokhtar, USM, Malaysia
Shannon Chance, Technological University Dublin, Ireland
Anne Gardner, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Naadiya Moosajee, WomEng & WomHub Co-Founder, South Africa
Siti Hamisah binti Tapsir, MOSTI, Malaysia
Sharifah Zaida Nurlisha binti Syed Ibrahim, CEO, MMC Oil & Gas Engineering Sdn Bhd, Malaysia
This was part of the 8th Regional Conference in Engineering Education (RCEE). It was organized by the Centre for Engineering Education (CEE) and the Faculty of Engineering at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
The overall conference was on “Engineering Education Leadership in an Uncertain World”.
I presented work by Bill Williams, Inês Direito, and myself on Middle Eastern women’s experiences of collaborative learning in engineering in Ireland. Here’s a link to a recent conference paper on the topic.
We have also written a blog on this which will soon be published by TU Dublin — stay tuned and I’ll share that once it’s out.
I got to attend several other day-time sessions at the conference, including the closing session, pictured above. The crowd was warm and enthusiastic. They were really interested in learning what women from Oman and Kuwait had told me about how engineering is practiced in their countries.
I’m delighted to have had these opportunities. Back in 2006, when I decided to earn a PhD in Higher Education, I had a goal to learn to see patterns at a global scale. I wanted to equip myself with the research skills to to affect change and to enable myself to move abroad for work.
Getting involved in the global Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN), and now serving as its Chair, has enabled me to connect with others in meaningful ways — to analyze the way we teach, study data on efficacy, publish research outcomes, and help improve engineering and architecture education.
In addition to learning some new skills in video capture and editing this past week, I also expanded my skills in Photoshop and created a new logo for REEN. The entire REEN Board gave feedback to improve the design, and I’m pleased to unveil it to you now:
This blog post shares ideas from a breakout “coffee chat” at the May 14th 2020 Big EER Meet Up, hosted by UCL with sponsors including REEN and TU Dublin. Our breakout session asked: Can we make future conferences greener and more equitable by providing online participation options?
It may be of use to people planning conferences for engineering education, engineering education research (EER), and beyond.
Shannon Chance initiated this coffee chat due to her concern for reducing the environmental impacts of conference attendance. Being part of the Marie Curie network (MCAA-UK) had made her aware of the scholarly paper on “Evaluating features of scientific conferences: A call for improvements” by Sarabipour et al (2020). This paper formed the basis of discussion. Shannon feels particularly compelled to develop viable solutions as she is the Chair of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) that coordinates the bi-annual Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES). REES 2021 is to be held in Perth, and REES 2023 is scheduled for Hubli, India. Although Shannon is passionate about bringing the global community of engineering education researchers together and helping build EER capacity, she’s concerned that so few can be involved in REES due to cost and distance. She recognizes economic inequality of access to the physical event as well as the environmental toll related to academic travel.
This coffee chat was intended to be informal. It was facilitated by:
Dr. Shannon Chance – Chair of REEN, from TU Dublin and UCL
Dr. Valquíria Villas-Boas – REEN Board Member, from the Universidade de Caxias do Sul
Dr. Inês Direito, from University College London
Dr. Carlos Efrén Mora from Universidad de La Laguna
The overall event was globally supported and attended. This graphic lists the co-sponsoring organizations:
The session abstract explained:
Through informal discussion, participants will share experiences of online conference participation, its benefits and drawbacks, and explore how non-pandemic EER conferences could adapt to include rich and rewarding participation for those who can’t physically attend. We will explore recommendations recently published by Sarabipour et al (2020) who believe “Many meetings could still be improved significantly in terms of diversity, inclusivity, promoting early career researcher (ECR) networking and career development, venue accessibility, and more importantly, reducing the meetings’ carbon footprint.” This non-reviewed paper examined “over 260 national and international academic meetings in various disciplines for features of inclusivity and sustainability” and its authors “propose solutions to make conferences more modern, effective, equitable and intellectually productive for the research community and environmentally sustainable for our planet.” With such enthusiastic participation in recent online EER seminars, could EER possible lead the way?
Several resources are available for attendees. Anyone with interest can access them:
A very diverse group attended this coffee chat. We briefly describing introduced ourselves as, for instance:
A teacher of engineers
I like to work in teams
Was on the organizing committee for a conference transitioned to virtual last month
I am planning/organizing a conference in pre-college engineering
I’m current president of the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED) where I found out how passionate I’m about Engineering Education 🙂
I consider myself a citizen of the world. I have lived in 4 countries and 7 different cities, and my family has 3 different nationalities.
We started by asking participants to take a minute to type into the chat about an enjoyable experience you’ve had in EER virtual learning recently, or provide a short reflection about being a “virtual” or a “face-to-face” person.
Virtual conferences are great for being able to attend with less time & money commitment. However, we need better ways to meet people at virtual conferences.
I love teaching on a chalkboard! I miss being in the classroom with my students. I am enjoying the interactions that I have with students during virtual lectures, but it feels like the balance of control is much more strongly with me, and I have to remember to give students space to contribute the disruptions that are more natural in the classroom.
I loved this [online Big EER] conference!
Easy access to EER community across the world. I have loved attending session that are open ended questions about how we navigate online teaching and learning, and everyone can share what they have been doing.
I find that being a virtual participant is more environmentally friendly by avoiding air travel. it would also be easier to attend more events than I would in person.
Current time is forcing us to adapt quite rapidly to the virtual context, it is important to make the most out of this experience.
I prefer being a face to face person; I am more of a “face-to-face” person because I like to see people’s reactions and smiles.
I’ve enjoyed getting together with architects and engineers for informal chat.
I participated od EDUCON 2020 and I had a great experience participating in workshops.
I’ve had more productive and enjoyable small group meetings with my pastoral supervises since lockdown – better than when they are physically squashed together in my quite small office.
I enjoyed getting to know a larger group of people (and new topics) in EER that otherwise it would not be possible.
I enjoyed being able to meet persons from very different backgrounds and cultures.
Many of the most positive and engaging online experiences I have had, have been since lockdown.
It’s been nice to travel the world from the comfort of my house while enjoying engineering education research.
I’ve been very impressed with how smoothly it has run, and how easy to participate.
During this Corona crisis period I have had the opportunity to attend conferences, webinars that I would not have been able to attend in person in a normal period.
Last Dec the SEFi working group on ethics organized a two day workshop that integrated online participants in all sessions: online presentations from the team of Virginia Tech (Diana Bairaktarova & Tom Sealy), Q&As taking questions from online participants, mixed breakout tables with both in person and online participants. The workshop had 60% in person participants 40% online participants.
Easy access to EER community across the world. I have loved attending session that are open ended questions about how we navigate online teaching and learning and everyone can share what they have been doing.
This experience today has been great – lovely to feel connected to people and conversations that I would normally be far away from.
Also have been thankful for the opportunity to attend conferences/meetings that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to due to my reluctance to be away from home.
Yes, you can “attend” many more conferences in the same time and less expense.
Also much more awake for conference sessions (sometimes getting a decent night’s sleep can be difficult in hotel rooms).
I think though that it is harder to build the connection with people who you don’t already “know”.
There was a webinar by the folks who ran LAK 20 online on two weeks’ notice. The policy was to have speakers present at a time appropriate to their timezone and upload immediately afterwards so that people in other timezones could see the talk.
And somehow interacting with my normal face-to-face colleagues via online seems almost natural – the connectivity is there.
Science is a global endeavour and we as scientists have the responsibility to make conferences more affordable, environmentally sustainable, and accessible to researchers constrained by geographical location, economics, personal circumstances or visa restrictions.
Career development and networking, especially for early career researchers (ECRs)
Environmental impact, carbon footprint (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
Many can’t travel, for example:
Researchers from young labs and low- to middle-income countries
Junior principal investigators (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
There is inequitable access regarding:
Health and mobility
Career stage (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
Travel requires resources: time, physical exertion, and family management, as well as funding.
“The less wealthy subsidize the expenses of the speakers, who usually attend scientific meetings free of charge.”
Registration fees can be steep and “Large conferences are often hosted in expensive cities as there are many accommodation options for large crowds, while conferences in more affordable locations are typically smaller in size.” Food often costs more there, too!
“Women and researchers from racial and ethnic groups, who are under-represented in various fields, are the least likely to be offered opportunities to speak at meetings in their discipline”.
“The experience of presenting at meetings for early career researchers (ECRs) and minorities who attend has not improved appreciably”.
“Digitalconferencesanddiscussionforums can, in fact, serve to assist communication between early career and senior researchers since writing a comment or question in a forum can feel less intimidating than approaching an established scholar in person.” (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
Environmental Toll: CO2 emissions
“Global aviation as a country ranks among the top 10 emitters”
“Conference attendance represents 35% of a researcher’s footprint”
This financial impact will be exacerbated in the current economic climate.
That’s a great point @Shannon. We’re teaching Sustainable Development Goals, but attending conferences can have a huge negative impact.
A participant from the US queried:
The “environmental impact” from a single conference is miniscule.
Of course, this assumes that you believe that CO2 emissions are harmful …
We need a better way to “meet” people in online venues.
The last point gained support from other participants:
Agree – it’s difficult to do accidental networking/meeting in online conferences – tend to stick to talking to people you already know/recognise.
Absolutely. Many interesting conversations/networking happens in less structured settings – coffee breaks, etc. How can we ‘create’ these opportunities online?
Shannon shared some Recommendations from Sarabipour et al (2020) that could apply in EER:
Replace in-person national and international meetings with more ground-based travel to regional meetings
Hold small and large meetings fully online or connect regional conference hubs digitally by live-streaming the conference [possibility for REES 2021+EERN-UK/IE]
Make research results more accessible globally via virtual access [eg, REEN database] and pre-printing
Foster digital networking by investing in relevant, immersive and interactive experiences [do more of these]
At physical conferences:
Stop generating junk (paper, souvenirs, badges)
Organize well-planned networking activities
Include public outreach & environmental clean-up (Sarabipour et al, 2020)
Next we discussed a question posed by Val: Why and how would making EER conferences greener impact you as an EER researcher?
Possibility to attend conferences via online would be very helpful for me as a researcher from SA without lots of funds – I would love to attend REEN 2021 but I don’t see how I’ll afford it.
Better access to far away and more conferences.
It would allow me to attend more conferences, since I wouldn’t normally fly to more than one conference per year for environmental considerations (would prefer not to fly at all).
Overall it would make easier to attend conferences if they are virtual. But also, it is easier to make connections in person.
Positive impact: more opportunities to attend events and meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise; ‘feel good’ reducing carbon footprint. Negative impact: human interactions are more challenging online.
With online conferences might see more female researchers participating, especially mothers with young kids who might find it difficult going away for a longer period of time.
I have never been to a REEN conference due to child care considerations, but I would definitely engage online.
Online conferences are less disruptive to teaching schedules – you can conduct your teaching and dip in and out of sessions.
Sometimes it’s difficult to physically travel to a conference fitting it in around teaching commitments.
Is it easier now to justify virtual conferences and meetings? Now we need to do it due to the Covid.
But if we want to build networks we have to do that intentionally.
I would like for online events to have ‘online dinners’ ‘online coffee breakout rooms’ where people could chat by video in an informal manner or to continue the discussion following a talk.
I suspect online conferences would encourage me to take a “chance” on hearing talks from people/projects that I was not aware of before.
I think that having online events makes it possible to design smaller, more frequent gatherings rather than trying to do mega-events.
When I was in Australia for a year, they told me how much time it took to get anywhere!
I am certainly more interested in attending a one day event online than I would be to attend a weeklong online event.
Totally agree with [above comment]! ASEE, for example, can be overwhelming. The sessions you want to attend have limited places. The colleagues you want to reach/get in touch with are difficult to find in the crowd!
I think virtual conferences actually make the physical conference more productive – you can read someone’s research, interact with them online, and if there is traction, you can meet in a physical conference and this will be more productive as you already know each other.
Totally agree – mix of virtual & physical is ideal.
I had a glass of wine before talking to Eric Mazur 🙂
Next we discussed the question: How could online participation options work in EER?
Can do online collaborative workshops with colleagues at different institutions easily. Definitely easier to attend than in real life but would be my personal preferences to have a hybrid somehow – but unsure if I am at a conference if I would be interested in doing the online version of that….
Maybe maintain a certain topic coffee break every x weeks. This way we can meet people with the same topic interests. (Like group writing meetings.)
You have to be much more strategic in designing interactions – you just can’t have as many talks in a day, or such quick turnaround between talks, as you would in a physical conference. Large amounts of parallel sessions would be disastrous, I think. Today was a good model – multiple time zones, and everyone speaking was a keynote.
The same way works face to face.
Combination of keynote sessions, workshops, and less structured formal sessions. Other idea would be to provide the option to join ‘interest’ groups.
Would be nice if live streaming/recording of sessions would become common practice. Enabling online participation for in-person conferences. For conferences which are solely online based, including online informal sessions.
I went to REES in Bogota, 2017. It was a great experience. The sessions were very interactive. Very different from those conferences where you have 10 minutes to present your paper, nobody asks you a question and that is the end. I think that the way the sessions were run could be done virtually too.
Another random idea I would like to share: There are conference apps (Whova at https://whova.com/virtual-conference-platform/, Conference4Me) that have networking features (you can meet other attendees with similar interests). This could easily be extended to online conferences. Also, these apps could be extended to accommodate attending multiple conferences at one time, so you could make up a personal schedule of events from both conferences.
Haven’t been to REES either – distance was the reason.
I think we need to add ‘bring your own drink session’ to these online events!
Well… this event was, after all, called BEER 😉
I agree with you Ines. Also if there were options for people to set up their own private meet-ups within the conference software – just as we would do when we form small groups during tea breaks.
Actually the REES format forces you to engage. Perhaps this could be a feature that can be built into an online session.
It’s also good to share recordings later – many colleagues couldn’t join due to timezones.
If you have a gap between the session and discussion, you might lose people.
Based on the number of online attendants today, there is a real need for this type of events.
Shannon posed ideas of holding smaller, regional conferences in alignment to share resources and conversation virtually, for instance:
The winter meeting of EERN-UK & Ireland could be aligned with REES 2021 scheduled for December 5-8 in Perth.
REES 2021 could broadcast some presentations and virtual attendees (such as those gathered on another site, or in their own homes) could submit questions using, perhaps, Padlet as implemented successfully at REES 2019 in Cape Town.
Another alternative to Padlet is Jamboard.
Agreed!! I was thinking of Padlet yesterday!
@shannon, I agree totally
Shannon, its a good idea, I am thinking of two or more research groups in different places meeting, individually, and then sharing their discussions with others.
Shannon noted that we need to implement sliding scales for registration fee, or somehow recognize that people from lower-income countries can’t access many of our events physically. Comments on that included:
The conferences that still have big fees are those run by societies that are trying to support their ongoing expenses. I have seen major conferences where the fee is as low as $30.
I’m attending an audio conference coming up virtually but the fee is still $175. Not sure why.
Educon2020 had different fees for people from low income countries.
ASEE, for example, makes a lot of money at the annual conference to support their headquarters and staff. Despite the $500 registration fee, they are still taking a hit to their sustaining fund.
By audio, we noted that conferences that had to quickly shift online had made payments out, that would be lost.
That point about sunk costs is a good one. The conferences that have paid a lot of up-front fees are mostly this spring and summer. Moving into (northern) autumn, we should see some of the fees come down.
Speaking of broadening participation, a virtual conference is a great way to get your students into the academic community at an earlier stage in their education.
One participant said she was new to EER and, in attending this Big EER Meet Up, found this academic community very welcoming. She said she felt much more welcome that in her home/technical discipline. She asked what our experiences were.
Shannon described her transition from architecture (teaching in the States) to engineering education in Europe after she attended SEFI 2012 and experienced a very warm welcome.
@shannon, I agree with you. I am a physicist and EER community is much, much more receptive than the Physics community.
Agreed, also more receptive than Aerospace. Feels like a real community. Inclusive 🙂
The session lasted 1.25 hours, and it drew to a close, participants added:
Great discussions everyone – sorry I can’t stay much longer (it’s supper time in this household) – looking forward to ongoing discussion about moving online!
I need to leave now, this was a good conversation. Thank you to everyone for organising and participating.
I will also ditch… fake SA winters are hard work! Thanks Shannon, Inês and Carlos 🙂
What a great day, and final session. Take care everyone.
Bye Diana! Great work!
Bye Diana. It was great to see you. And what a fantastic presentation!
Thank you ladies! hope we can meet soon. SEFI was also moved online this year.
I know. Very sad about that.
Diana asked: Why is it so difficult to close this meeting? I enjoyed it too much! If you organize any events or online talks including ethics, drop me an email please so I can include them in the SEFI newsletter!
Most days, I find myself communicating with colleagues from afar on various projects, proposals, and ideas. On a typical day, I hear from Dr. Inês Direito in London (UK), Dr. Lelanie Smith in Pretoria (South Africa) and Dr. Carlos Efrén Mora Luis in Tenerife (Spain). We have many overlapping interests–one being how to understand student motivations and emotions and how to use this understanding to help students tackle and persist through challenges. I often hear from our co-author Dr. Bill Williams, from outside Lisbon (Portugal) as well.
In addition to engineering motivations, we are also all interested in sustainability — environmental, economic and social. So over the past few weeks, WhatsApp and Signal chats have been rich and frequent.
Today alone, Lelanie, Inês, and I discussed research plans. Inês, Bill, and I submitted a conference paper on Brexit (with Inês in the lead and comments from Bill and me). Inês and I refined a journal manuscript on engineering ethics (with me in the lead and verbal input from Inês — she will edit my current version in the morning).
Down in the Spanish Canaries, Carlos has been fighting sand storms, as dust from the Sahara Dessert enveloped the islands. The weekend’s sandstorms were one of a number of challenges he’s faced recently, but he’s never one to give up.
Carlos and I didn’t win the grant we applied for this past September, despite having put months into the proposal. We’ve picked ourselves up, brushed off the disappointment, and developed a plan to perfect and resubmit. I know all too well that resubmitting makes a world of difference! It’s the best way to win funding. Yesterday, I was rallying our troops, gathering support for a new round of work. I am confident that eventually we will succeed.
But we haven’t been sitting around waiting for success to come.
In December, Carlos submitted an additional grant proposal, this one to the Cabildo of Tenerife, Spain, for €56,000. He received funding for the project titled “INGENIA.” Carlos explained to me that the word “Ingenia” comes from “Ingenio,” which is “Ingenuity” in English. So the project is fostering “Ingenuity” to support sustainability education.
I’m honored that (as a result of me coaching him on how to write grant proposals) he included me as a co-PI.
On the 31st of January, Carlos and his colleagues in Tenerife launched his extremely well-designed INGENIA project. It was a true thrill when over 300 people attended his launch that Friday!
Carlos has summarized in English that “INGENIA wants to show that students can find sustainable solutions to real life problems linked to SDGs in Tenerife.” Students will build their own research teams and find a supervisor who will help manage the financial resources for their project.” In other words, the students “will have to find relevant problems and then propose solutions. The final part of the process is selling their solutions to companies and administrative public offices.”
Students will engineer their solutions and compete for funding to realize their projects. Below, I’ve included information that Carlos wrote to described the project, which is being conducted in Spanish. I can understand a bit by reading the Spanish materials he produced, but he was kind enough to translate for me/us!
The Spanish public universities agreed recently contributing to the 2030 Agenda by building and transferring knowledge and skills to society about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Universities can contribute with teaching, learning, and student-participation methods to transfer not just the skills, but the motivation needed to face the SDGs. Like other Spanish higher education institutions, University of La Laguna (ULL) endorsed the United Nations (UN) SDGs initiative, and has a detailed understanding of the importance of its local problems linked to the environmental, social, and economical sustainability of the Canary Islands.
INGENIA is a project coordinated by ULL that is focused on the needs of the local society in the Canaries that supports building knowledge and skills on the participating students. INGENIA uses Project-oriented Problem Based Learning (PoPBL) learning strategies to motivate the students to find and propose solutions to real problems linked to the SDGs around their own environment.
Train university and high school academic staff in using active learning strategies to impulse SDGs.
Educate postgraduate students, and academic staff, in facilitating techniques and strategies to guiding students in complex projects linked to SDGs.
Develop real student projects with a high potential for positive impact in the Canarian society.
INGENIA will be implemented in three stages:
Informative and training actions. Informative actions will include a conference to be held at ULL in its theatre showing how students can change the world. Training actions will include workshops with specialists in Engineering Education focused on PBL and the evaluation of the impact of student projects. Goal: Get teachers motivated to help students in writing their proposals. Each of these teachers will also serve as guarantors for a team of students, and guarantors will assume the financial responsibility of the projects they back.
Training of facilitators. A group of postgraduate students will receive specific training for PBL, Motivation, Conflict Management, and Project Management. Facilitators will collaborate with guarantors in guiding the student teams. Goal: Having at least one facilitator for each wining proposal.
Project development: INGENIA will include a call for proposals. Student teams must justify the relevance of the problem and the feasibility of their solutions. Winning teams will receive funding for their projects, and must execute their projects within two months. At the end of this period, each team will write a report to identify the impact of their solutions. Students will participate in a public exhibition in October 2020, and will also have the opportunity to show their solutions to companies and public institutions with the aim of getting additional funding to continue their projects.
Carlos explained that the 31st was a day full of feeling. One of the speakers told such a moving story that the audience shed tears of emotion. Specifically, two students described their experiences; the second of these is working with ‘invisible’ people, meaning people who appear in social statistics, but have no work, no home, and thus no address. Carlos said she did an excellent job transmitting her feelings. She said, for instance, “that one day, she cooked rice for homeless people, but she was so busy that she forgot to turn off the cooking plate.” The rice was damaged, but she salvaged and packed up as much rice us she could, and went to give it to people in the street in Tenerife. She gave a portion to one man, and stayed looking at him. As the man was eating that rice, he stopped, looked at her eyes, and said what a lovely smile she had.
When she finished her narrative at the launch, one retired professor raised his hand to say something, but when he tried to start broken into tears. He cited numbers — the number of people invisible to all of us — and then he said that he had lived this experience along with her, and that she had touched his heart. The student walked down from the stage and gave the professor a big embrace. All the assistants, students, and teachers in the audience started to applaud.
It is this sort of change Carlos hopes to inspire among more students, and this is the sort of communication I received from Carlos daily.
After the student’s talk, many people were in tears, including Carlos. But he couldn’t stop to weep: he was next up on the stage.
Carlos needed to explain details of the program and how it will run. He had to explain the schedule and what will be expected of the various people working together in teams — including the student team members as well as the post-graduate and faculty member (e.g., professors) advising each team.
Carlos said the event was so motivating, inspiring them all to go out and find problems to solve. He received oodles of questions from students and academics wanting to participate. He said “Yes, I still can’t believe it, but something positive happened today!”
I have included images that are copyright of the photographer, Emeterio Suárez Guerra, and used with permission of Carlos.
I just had my bi-monthly supervisory meeting with my Ph.D. student from London South Bank University, Thomas Empson. I really enjoy these meetings because Thomas is firing all cylinders and his work in sustainable production is moving full speed ahead.
Today, we discussed three of his current projects.
His Ph.D. thesis/dissertation study is the first, and foremost, of these projects. He’s just received his formal approval to proceed from the university’s ethics committee, so one of the most tedious (but nevertheless crucial) parts of the Ph.D. work is behind him! Two high-profile companies have just agreed to participate in his project–allowing him to study in great detail their cases of sustainable design and production.
Our paper draws together parts of Thomas’ Ph.D. literature review and ties this background research on existing theories and models of sustainability to a project he’s running for the Design Museum, called The Great Competition, which is the third big project we discussed.
“The Great Competition is a new national design challenge for undergraduates for the 2018-19 academic year. It aims to promote greater industrial innovation and multi-disciplinary collaboration between design and engineering, encouraging students to develop innovative solutions to today’s most pressing social and environmental issues.
This year, undergraduate students are invited to respond to an industry-led live brief on sustainable manufacturing, inspired by the UK Government’s Industrial Society. A judging panel of leading experts across design, engineering and related fields will select the short-listed and winning submissions. Short-listed submissions will have the opportunity to take part in a designer-led masterclass and Awards ceremony in May 2019. The winning submission will also receive a cash prize of up to £3000. The Great Competition is delivered through the generous support of The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851”. —The Great Competition webpage
Thomas’ work for The Great Competition was just featured on LSBU’s website, and I hope you’ll take a look at the article:
Last month, while working on our chapter, Tim Cole and I discussed VBCPS’s sustainability strategies.
I’m celebrating a moment of success here before I hit the sack for the night.
I just submitted a full draft of a chapter called “Designing School Buildings to Enhance Performance and Learning” for a book called Marketing the Green School: Form, Function, and the Future that will be part of the Advances in Educational Marketing, Administration, and Leadership (AEMAL) Book Series. To make that project more fun, I enlisted Virginia Beach City Public School’s Director of Sustainability, J. Timothy Cole, as my supporting author.
This chapter provides a way for me to share some of the research I did for my dissertation and to extend my knowledge — I got to learn from Tim’s successes in Virginia Beach. Tim has helped create 8 LEED-quality school facilities (5 are certified and 3 are in process to become certified). He even helped pilot LEED v1 in the 1990s.
This is the second chapter I have completed in the two months since I’ve been home. The other chapter is called “Bringing it all Together Through Group Learning.” It is for a Wiley publication called New Directions for HIgher Education. That project was fun because I got to work with the book’s editor, the illustrious Dr. Pamela Eddy.
Since returning home on August 23, I’ve also managed to compile and submit a dossier to my University, submit a grant proposal asking for funding to help conduct future research, spend a good amount of time with my students, implement some new teaching techniques, and — this week — get my midterm grades in on time and prep to advise students.
Oh, yes, and tonight I also had a lovely dinner with my dad and step-mom, Joyce, who are in town on business! It was a real treat to spend a few hours with them. Joyce is the Director of Admissions for the Vet School at Virginia Tech and she is recruiting at Hampton University in the morning.
All this is pretty typical in the day of a professor… but I will sleep well tonight, knowing that I’m doing the best job I can possibly be doing right now, despite all the odds I’ve stacked against myself.
It is really nice to step back, take a deep breath, and be thankful for work and health and a ray of happiness every now and then.
And now, to sleep. There’s much more to do in the morning….
A plan of the new Kellam High School, now under construction.
Tim gave me a tour of the facility, inside and out.
The highlight is the central courtyard, which the students helped design.
It includes an “edible” garden, a bio-retention infiltration garden, and an interactive gathering garden.
Today was a busy first day back at Hampton University. The dean re-introduced me to the faculty with a big “welcome home!” I have to admit, my colleagues’ enthusiastic greetings made me feel like a superstar all day.
After the morning keynote sessions, the whole faculty headed over to the HU waterfront for our annual picnic. This year’s weather was amazing and the jazz ensemble sounded lovely.
The faculty wrapped up the afternoon with information sessions, one of which I helped facilitate. My colleagues and I encouraged our peers to integrate environmental topics into the courses they teach.
You can view my Prezi online: I showed a few images of how we integrate sustainability into architecture courses at HU. I also discussed the “Educational Planning for Environmental Sustainability” course I teach in the summer at William and Mary. I took the opportunity to promote student-centered pedagogies (which I studied at Dublin Institute of Technology) and the importance of getting students to generate new knowledge (a core idea in W&M’s School of Education).
The schedule for the week-long Faculty Institute
Hampton University’s beautiful Memorial Chapel
The Hampton waterfront, ready for our faculty picnic
My sustainability colleagues enjoying jazz over lunch
View of the marina across the Hampton River
The facilitators for today’s sustainability workshops: Drs. Shannon Chance, Barbara Abraham, Andrij Horodysky, Carmina Sanchez, Deidre Gibson, and Benjamin Cuker.
We started with a few short presentations…
…on the sustainability course I teach at William and Mary.
We spoke with half the faculty in each session.
Carmina did the session wrap up.
We gave everyone time to generate ideas for integrating sustainability into their own course activities.
…and share ideas…
and present the ideas to the whole group.
Everyone got involved…
…and we came up with…
…some interesting ideas…
…that we will soon post…
…on a website…
…to keep us moving forward…
…and working to make this world a better place.
I even got to share some ideas from my time in Dublin.
Electricity costs a lot in Europe. Years ago I’d heard the cost was generally six times as high as in the USA. As a result, the Europeans are more careful about the way they use energy. They try not to waste it.
Many Irish homes use electric storage heat. The system mimics adobe construction of the southwestern United States. It uses “thermal mass” (in the form of bricks) to soak up heat when it’s free (from the desert sun) or cheaper (at night when purchased from the utility company in Ireland).
The bricks hold the heat until the air on the outside gets colder than they are, and then they release the heat they are holding into the air to warm it.
I’ve posted photos of Keith, the maintenance guy for my apartment building, checking one of my electric storage heaters. They’re a bit difficult to get started at the beginning of the winter season. Mine needed extra attention because a toddler who used to live in this apartment stuffed small plastic items into the heating units. Keith had to clean them out.
In any case, I hope this technology keeps getting used and improved, as it’s a system that makes a lot of sense environmentally.
Get heated at night (when electricity costs less) and absorb the heat energy to release it during the day.
The class I taught this past summer at The College of William and Mary is being featured by the university’s public relations department for helping students move ideas into action and spurring environmental change. Check it out at:
One of our many field trips in the summer “Educational Planning for Environmental Sustainability” class at William and Mary. This one, to the campus herb gardens, was coordinated by student Justine Okerson and led by W&M’s current Sustainability Fellow, Patrick Foley. The cafeterias at W&M get all the herbs they use from these gardens.