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SustainIT: Curriculum Innovation for Tomorrow's Sustainability Professionals

Morell, Lueny; Trucco, Martina; Bash, Cullen; Patel, Chandrakant
HP Laboratories


Keyword(s): Curriculum innovation; sustainability; IT; BS; MS; information technology

Abstract: Based on Hewlett Packard Laboratories' (HP Labs) leading-edge research and development in IT for Sustainability, we believe that information technology (IT) forms a crucial foundation for designing, building and managing the Sustainable Cities of the future. This paper proposes a model to innovate the engineering and computing curriculum to include sustainability and IT topics in order to develop the skills and competencies that future professionals will need to design, build and manage future cities. Multidisciplinary topics include traditional ecological engineering; life-cycle design; scalable and configurable resource microgrids; pervasive sensing infrastructure, aggregation and dashboards; knowledge discovery, data mining and visualization; and, policy based control and operation. Rather than developing a new program, we propose a curriculum model - called SustainIT - adapted from the successful 2006 US NAE Gordon Prize engineering curriculum innovation, The Learning Factory - as a possible roadmap to reform and complement existing Bachelor's of Science (BS) degrees in engineering. By providing a series of guided electives, any engineering program may offer engineering, and/or computer science students the opportunity to learn about and become specialized in IT for Sustainability. We also propose two Master's degree tracks - Information Technology for Sustainability and Infrastructure Technology for Sustainability - for engineering and computer science Master's degrees. We propose this curriculum innovation model as a workshop topic, in order to catalyze a discussion among stakeholders that will lead to the development of curricula to address the need for engineers that will have the skills and training to collect and analyze future cities data and make intelligent decisions for sustainability. The proposed workshop will be led by one or all of the authors, and will include a presentation of the proposed curriculum model, followed by an interactive work session among workshop participants to brainstorm ways to integrate the curriculum at their own institutions.

6 Pages

External Posting Date: October 23, 2012 [Fulltext]. Approved for External Publication
Internal Posting Date: October 23, 2012 [Fulltext]

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