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Course A.3: The Global Engineer in Sustainable Human Development

Academic Coordinator

Mr. Andrew Lamb, World Federation of Engineering Organizations – WFEO

Course Overview

Global challenges faced by society in the 21st century - including climate change, resource limitations and extreme poverty - are complex and interconnected, transcending the confines of traditional scientific disciplines. Despite this, the disciplines dealing with these issues (including engineering) are becoming increasingly specialized and compartmentalized in nature. Moreover, global challenges are characterized by uncertainty and dissent, as well as asymmetrical power relations that give particular interests more weight than others. As a result, engineers and professionals face important shortcomings in problem identification and often lack new intellectual skills and competences in searching for sustainable solutions.

This course introduces participants to the epistemological and methodological challenges needed to move from conventional understanding to an inclusive knowledge more focused on holistic problem-solving. It will then explore socio-technical theories used to identify global skills and attitudes that should be embedded across engineering curriculum, including system thinking, multi and transdisciplinarity, social entrepreneurship, stakeholder analysis and public engagement.

It should take approximately 20-25 hours to complete, including readings, assignments and activities. 

Learning Outcomes

1.    Describe various theories of relationships between society and technology, and apply theories to develop new theories of socio-technical relationships which integrate a SHD perspective.

2.    Compare different methodologies for the structuring and framing of problems which allow for a more holistic and multidisciplinary analysis of contemporary engineering practice. 

3.    Examine the function and culture of traditional business and management practices in the engineering sector in order to identify opportunities for the integration of SHD perspectives.

4.    Explain the importance of engaging stakeholders and the public in engineering practice in order to develop a practice more in line with SHD principles.