The Extent of Sustainable Education in the Engineering Faculty at Dalhousie University
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Since we did not get 55 out of 56 surveys returned which is a 98.2% return rate (which is an impossibly high number) our findings are not with in the 95% confidence interval thus our findings are inconclusive. What our data has shown us is that professors only seem 33.3% confidant that there is a “good amount” of sustainable education present in undergraduate engineering classrooms, and 33.4% of professors are unsure if what they are, or others are teaching constitutes as a “fair amount” of environmentally sustainable education. There also seemed to be some overlap with sustainable topics which are discussed in the classrooms, such as pollution and sustainable living, this is a good start but begins to show the lack of vast sustainable knowledge being taught. Thus, what the engineering students are learning about sustainable education is not a sufficient- enough amount to be considered a good amount of sustainable knowledge. The majority of professors at 42.9% were against the addition of another first year engineering course option that a student could choose which specifically focuses on sustainable building which can be counted towards their degree, and incorporates environmental and sustainable engineering concepts. 14.2% of professors answered to this question that it is should be an option, and 42.9% said adding this type of coarse option is worth considering. The means for the answers to each question on our surveys resulted in large standard deviations, meaning there was no general correlation or consensus on the professors answers about how much sustainable education already exists in the classrooms and if this type of education deserves to be increased. Our team of environmental scientists had found it difficult to get the information we needed out of the engineering professors from Dalhousie University, as well as get them to complete our surveys which was to our disappointment after relentless reminders. Consequently we feel our line of research would benefit from further research, to one day be able to integrate an increased amount of sustainable education into engineering classrooms. Further recommendations would be to talk to the upper year Dalhousie Engineering students themselves to ask them how much sustainable education they feel they are learning from the material incorporated into their lower level classes. This would give us more of an insight into the type of information being presented in classrooms from a different perspective and could further assist out research in moving forward towards larger results which can be more conclusive regarding the amount of sustainable education being taught in undergraduate engineering classrooms today. Our hope is to understand the type of sustainable education being taught and have professors understand the importance of this type of education and help increase its relevance in classrooms in the future.