Environmental consciousness guides new education endeavor

ASU to deliver new engineering curriculum dedicated to teaching environmentally and socially conscious engineering practices

October 13, 2020

Engineering shapes almost every facet of how humans live, putting pressure on engineers to constantly deliver new and better solutions to social and technological challenges. But what are the environmental consequences of these solutions?

Many of today’s global environmental threats are exacerbated by technologies, products, infrastructures and services engineers develop.  Lemelson grant EGR 201 students are learning how to effectively incorporate environmentally conscious engineering practices into their everyday coursework as part of a new Lemelson Foundation grant. Download Full Image

With support from the Lemelson Foundation, new research in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University will teach engineering students to avoid these unintended environmental impacts.

Academic leaders today are advocating for a shift in engineering education and are developing methods to better equip students with the proficiencies needed to effectively navigate sustainable engineering solutions and build a more environmentally conscious culture.

The Lemelson Foundation in partnership with VentureWell has developed a global initiative called Engineering for One Planet, or EOP, with the mission of accelerating environmentally and socially conscious engineering.

Motivated by the environment of innovation fostered at ASU and the capabilities it has to rapidly develop new curriculum on a large scale, the Lemelson Foundation invited The Polytechnic School, one of the six Fulton Schools at ASU, to apply for one of the grants to help pursue the initiative’s goal. Four additional educational institutions have also been selected to participate in the project.

Darshan Karwat, an assistant professor of engineering at The Polytechnic School, as well as ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society of the College of Global Futures, is leading the only project-based learning grant. Karwat has launched a pilot program of the Environmentally Responsible Engineering, or ERE, framework.

The EOP initiative has the support of stakeholders in academia, industry, government and philanthropic organizations that are encouraging systemic change in engineering education across the country.

The initiative also stems from a broader demand from nonprofit organizations like the National Academy of Engineering, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and other organizations advocating for a reformed engineering curriculum.

Environmentally responsible engineering framework

A diagram outlining the ERE framework as part of the larger EOP initiative, which uses a multidisciplinary approach that aligns with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to help guide curricular changes. Image courtesy of the Lemelson Foundation.

Karwat, along with co-principal investigator Adam Carberry, an associate professor for the engineering education systems and design program at The Polytechnic School, and collaborators Ira Bennett, the associate director for research for the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and Philip White, an associate professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, have modified the curriculum of a core course — EGR 201: Use-Inspired Design I — as a vehicle to deliver ERE content to students across multiple engineering disciplines.

“We want to use the current project-based course spine at The Polytechnic School to systematically and consistently instill the idea in all engineering students that thinking about environmental protection and responsibility is core to doing engineering well,” Karwat said.

“We are exploring how the ERE framework can be delivered to students at different points across the four-year curriculum so it hits on most, if not all, aspects of the framework,” he said.

“One of our goals with embedding the ERE framework is to instill in our students a recognition that their designs go beyond the technical specifications,” said Carberry, who has been teaching the course since 2011. “The design process should always include discussions around how a solution can potentially impact the environment, alongside other nontechnical considerations like economical, societal and cultural impacts.”

The project will be monitored and evaluated by the College Research and Evaluation Services, or CREST, at ASU. CREST has expertise in evaluating STEM education grants and can provide resources and technology to support the project.

Second-year project goals include sharing the initiative and findings with the other Fulton Schools and throughout the entire ASU community. Eventually those findings will be shared across the nation through a series of seminars and workshops. 

To accelerate curriculum modifications and take advantage of the extensive support the environmental consciousness movement has generated, these projects will rely heavily on a collaborative approach in which participants can share ideas, best practices and gain new perspectives.

“Our ever-changing world has made it that much more important to ensure that our students, the future engineering workforce, are considering the sustainability of their designs,” Carberry said. “We have grown immensely as a society in the level to which we recognize the impact our solutions can have on the world.”

Sona Patel Srinarayana

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU professor named a finalist for prestigious Theatre Library Association Award

October 13, 2020

The Theatre Library Association has announced the Theatre Library Association Book Award winners for English language works of scholarship on live and recorded performance published in 2019. One of the finalists was Arizona State University School of Music, Dance and Theatre’s Mary McAvoy for her work “Rehearsing Revolutions: The Labor Drama Experiment and Radical Activism in the Early Twentieth Century.”

McAvoy was specifically nominated for the George Freedley Memorial Award, which recognizes exemplary work in the field of live theater or performance. Her work also received a Studies in Theatre History and Culture 2019 award for Outstanding Academic Title.  Mary McAvoy Download Full Image

“The Choice Outstanding Academic Title distinction coupled with the TLA George Freedley Award finalist selection are major honors; for ‘Rehearsing Revolutions’ to receive both is a resounding endorsement of the book’s excellence and contributions to the field of theater history,” said Sara L. Hales-Brittain of the University of Iowa Press. “We are delighted by these accolades and proud to have published Professor McAvoy’s book.”

This is the first book that McAvoy has fully authored; she co-authored “Drama and Education: Performance Methodologies for Teaching and Learning” and co-edited both “Youth and Performance: Perceptions of the Contemporary Child” and the forthcoming “Routledge Companion to Drama in Education.” Her articles have appeared in “Youth Theatre Journal,” “The Journal of American Drama and Theatre,” “Arts Education Policy Review” and various edited collections. She has guest-edited and currently serves on the editorial boards for multiple journals.

As an associate professor of theater, McAvoy’s research and creative practice focus on histories of theater and drama in educational contexts; performance pedagogy and activism (particularly in U.S. labor movements); educational theater/drama, theater teacher preparation, and teaching artistry; radical and experimental performance in youth cultures; and arts education policy. As a practitioner-researcher, she works extensively in education and community engagement for performance and theater. 

McAvoy teaches courses in theater history, research methods and theater teaching methods preK–16 and older, in both the undergraduate and graduate theater programs. She also directs the ASU theater education teacher certification programs and serves as one of the faculty coordinators for community engagement programming in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. 

Danielle Munoz

Media and Communications Coordinator, School of Film, Dance and Theatre