Encouraging undergraduate engineering students towards civic engagement

Wallen, Matthew R. and Pandit, Abhay S. (2009) Encouraging undergraduate engineering students towards civic engagement. European Journal of Engineering Education, 34 (2). pp. 141-148. ISSN 03043797


Responding to the calls for teaching “soft skills” within the undergraduate engineering curriculum and for the university to address a perceived decrease in social capital, a programme titled Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly Directed by Engineers (CAIRDE, an Irish language word meaning “friends”) was instituted at the National University of Ireland, Galway. As part of a mandatory module in the Mechanical and Biomedical undergraduate programmes, students carry out self-directed projects involving community action (service) and application of knowledge (students' prior learning). This paper reports on an evaluative research study focussed on understanding the participating students' experiences. Among findings related to students' perceptions as future professionals, students describe a growing awareness of the need for collaboration and the positive value of engagement with the community as knowledgeable end-users of their designs. The paper concludes by suggesting greater integration of this type of pedagogy for civic engagement across the curriculum. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]; Copyright of European Journal of Engineering Education is the property of Taylor & Francis Ltd and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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