`Human nature': Chemical engineering students' ideas about human relationships with the natural world: Chemical engineering students' ideas about human relationships with the natural world

Daphne Goldman, Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf, Julia Shemesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While importance of environmental ethics, as a component of sustainable development, in preparing engineers is widely acknowledged, little research has addressed chemical engineers' environmental concerns. This study aimed to address this void by exploring chemical engineering students' values regarding human-nature relationships. The study was conducted with 247 3rd-4th year chemical engineering students in Israeli Universities. It employed the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP)-questionnaire to which students added written explanations. Quantitative analysis of NEP-scale results shows that the students demonstrated moderately ecocentric orientation. Explanations to the NEP-items reveal diverse, ambivalent ideas regarding the notions embodied in the NEP, strong scientific orientation and reliance on technology for addressing environmental challenges. Endorsing sustainability implies that today's engineers be equipped with an ecological perspective. The capacity of Higher Education to enable engineers to develop dispositions about human-nature interrelationships requires adaptation of curricula towards multidisciplinary, integrative learning addressing social-political-economic-ethical perspectives, and implementing critical-thinking within the socio-scientific issues pedagogical approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-347
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • NEP-scale
  • chemical engineering students
  • environmental worldviews
  • sustainability

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