ELIZABETHTOWN, PA — Recently, Elizabethtown College was awarded a $1.2 Million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch the Center for Equity and Sustainability in Engineering in partnership with the Greenway Institute, located in Vermont.
“With the help of this grant, we hope to reimagine engineering education around our shared commitments to equity and sustainability. We will expand the participation of historically underrepresented students in engineering, including students of color, women and rural students. And, our innovative program will prepare all students to design and build a more just and sustainable future,” Elizabethtown College Dean of the School of Engineering, Math and Science, and grant Principal Investigator Sara Atwood said.
The Greenway Center for Equity and Sustainability (GCES) will be an innovation campus that re-designs and re-centers engineering education around sustainability and core equity practices that empower students from underrepresented groups. The grant will help fund:
- An immersive “sustainability semester” in Vermont where engineering students from around the country engage in hands-on engineering projects that introduce them to principles and practices of sustainability
- A first-year of immersive, team-based, hands-on engineering education for students admitted to Etown’s engineering program
- Project-based professional development for K-12 teachers in collaboration with the Etown Masters in Curriculum and Instruction
“The Greenway Center for Equity and Sustainability addresses our two biggest imperatives for engineering education: closing opportunity gaps for historically marginalized students and preparing the next generation of engineers to tackle the complex, multidisciplinary challenge of designing and building a sustainable future. Because historically marginalized groups, including communities of color and rural students, are often the first and most harmed by failures to think sustainably, the challenges of equity and sustainable engineering are one and the same,” said grant co-PI Greenway Institute co-founder and former Secretary of Education of Vermont, Rebecca Holcombe.
Elizabethtown College will offer ABET-accredited engineering courses through the GCES at a site in Vermont. The two institutions will partner with a vision to provide the best undergraduate engineering education in the country through a unique hands-on, immersive, sustainability and equity-focused education program that prepares future engineers to imagine, design, and build communities that are better for the people, the environment, and a vibrant economy.
“Elizabethtown College and Greenway Institute have a longstanding relationship based upon past work and faculty engagement,” Atwood said. “Both institutions are committed to providing students with hands-on, project-based learning models and to conducting research that addresses the barriers students often encounter in engineering education due to socioeconomic, gender, rural and racial disparities.”
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