Twitter chat for Bigbeacon.org

Last Wednesday, I hosted a twitter chat for BigBeacon.org, a “movement to transform engineering education.” Besides my forgetting to add hashtags a few times, it went pretty well, with lots of good input and shared resources from the various participants. Here’s the recap of the twitter chat.

And following is how I set the stage for the chat: bb_twitterchat

As you’ve probably guessed, I’d like to discuss sustainability in engineering during this twitter chat, but maybe not in the way you expect. Here’s some background. I think engineers should, and often do, help people. That’s the whole point, right? Yet, Big Beacon is suggesting quite radical change in calls for a whole new engineer who is “socially aware” and for a whole new engineering education that “fosters concern for human values and ethics.” Imagine a middle-schooler reading these points in the Manifesto. It’s embarrassing that such self-evident truths represent a departure from our broken status-quo.

Often miscast as being primarily about reusable shopping bags, sustainability is, like engineering, about people. Protecting and restoring the environment matters because it’s where us humans live. So, engineering for sustainability requires a whole new engineer who is socially aware and a whole new engineering education that fosters concern for human value and ethics.

Enough theory, I said we’d try to accomplish something useful. I hope my questions can help us all build our networks of socially aware engineers. Let’s learn from what they are doing that is different from the status quo. Let’s figure out how to build on these bright spots!

Who are your favorite socially aware engineers (tweet at them)?

  • What is so great about them?
  • Why do you think they were able to break the mold of typical engineers?

What are your favorite examples of engineering education that fosters concern for human values (tweet at these programs)?

  • What are they doing that is different?

Do you have any examples of engineering education that connects sustainability to social awareness and concern for human values?

  • How can we scale-up programs like these?

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