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Energy and Climate: Imperative concepts for tomorrow’s engineers.

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McGill Faculty Club

3450 Rue McTavish

Montréal, QC H3A 0E5

Canada

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Energy and Climate: Imperative concepts for tomorrow’s engineers.

Dr. Susan E. Powers, Clarkson University Potsdam NY

Engineers must take a leading role in addressing the challenges of mitigating climate change and adapting to the inevitable changes that our world is facing. Yet climate change classes that target engineering students are scarce. Technical education must focus on the problem formulation and solutions that consider multiple, complex interactions between engineered systems and the Earth’s climate system and recognize that transformation raises societal challenges, including trade-offs among benefits, costs, and risks. The objective of this presentation is to highlight the content and pedagogical approach used in a new climate science course for engineers that has been taught 5 semesters that helped to contribute to significant gains in engineering students’ climate literacy and critical thinking competencies. The quasi-experimental study examined the overall status of climate literacy and evaluates changes in students’ climate-related content knowledge, affect, and behavioral attributes following completion of the semester course.



Dr. Susan Powers

Susan E. Powers, PhD, PE, is the Spence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems and the Director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment at Clarkson University. Her research includes lifecycle assessment to provide perspectives on energy systems and their overall environmental impact. Her specific recent interdisciplinary work includes anaerobic digestion for food waste management and energy production and smart housing to motivate energy conservation behavior. Dr. Powers integrates education and scholarly work through research on aspects of engineering and broader STEM education. She is using her current academic position to promote project-based learning experiences to promote sustainability for college students. Recent sources of funding for education and technical scholarly work include the EPA, NSF, NYSERDA, NASA and the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute.

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McGill Faculty Club

3450 Rue McTavish

Montréal, QC H3A 0E5

Canada

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