BUSINESS EDUCATION

A common theme throughout the workshop was incorporating green ideas into business education. According to Warner, training people just to work for corporations is not enough anymore, and an emphasis on entrepreneurship is needed. Two examples of business education activities are Pat Hogan’s business club at Suffolk University and Tyler McQuade’s efforts to develop relationships between Cornell’s chemistry department and its business school. The fact that green business efforts for undergraduate, graduate, and faculty are in motion is evidence that many see it as important. Parent sees one of the issues of selling green education to business people is making it clear how they will gain from using green principles. Parent notes, however, that it is the scientists and engineers pushing the efforts, not the business community and it is therefore currently a one-sided push.

GREEN ETHICS

Green ethics, or the social responsibility to improve the environment, was another curriculum item that came up in discussion several times. In addition to many of the attendees who deem green ethics important, it is also information the students want. Vanasupa said that many students are very attracted to the idea of “making a difference” and “service to humanity.” According to Vanasupa, ethics have been a peripheral subject in many schools and having the material as an integral part of the curriculum is a goal with a variety of solutions available.

Cliff Davidson from Carnegie Mellon University posed the question of “who will teach the ethics?” Davidson suggested that expert ethicists and humanities professors were seen as appropriate people to teach as well as help develop the curriculum. Vanasupa explained that because faculty members are often already burdened with a full workload, one solution has been to outsource to the experts. At the same time, she said that the outsourcing can also create a disconnect between the faculty and material covered. One solution to the disconnect is coteaching, although there can initially be problems with the administration and infrastructure.

CONCLUSION

By the close of the two days, the attendees of this Chemical Sciences Roundtable workshop had covered a wide array of green chemistry and green engineering education efforts and ideas for all levels of education. The existing and developing efforts at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, faculty, and industry levels discussed cover many formats:

  • Workshops;

  • Videos;

  • Computer programs;

  • Research programs;

  • Degree programs;

  • Booklets;

  • Textbooks;

  • Competitions;

  • Websites;

  • Databases; and

  • Distance education.

Developing curricular ideas around the issues of marketing, occupational health, business education, R1s, and green ethics are also seen as important for the future of green chemistry and green engineering education. The workshop served as a forum to organize a core of leaders who hope to further facilitate, catalyze, and integrate green chemistry, engineering, and policy into historical curricula.

Comparing the ideas about green chemistry and engineering education that participants identified in the preworkshop survey with what the attendees were able to discuss and rally around indicates consistency of trends. In the pre-workshop survey the majority of the respondents (76 percent) felt an integrated approach for teaching the material was more effective than teaching separately. A similar idea, presented in the overarching marketing section, came out repeatedly during the two-day workshop. In the area of impediments to incorporation, the respondents did not identify one factor as dominant. Instead books, lecture materials, colleague resistance or lack of awareness, and a crowded curriculum were each about equally important (about 20 percent each). The lack of materials and crowded curriculum, as well as the lack of awareness of materials, mentioned in the overarching section mirrored the survey results. Prior to the workshop, the attendees indicated that green education was best targeted at all undergraduate levels (67 percent), as well as at the freshmen level (17 percent). The presentation of so many efforts at all levels of education during the workshop indicates that there is an interest for some kind of education at all levels. In addition, the particular breakout group, Green Chemistry and Engineering in Future Curricula, felt that a specific degree program is best targeted at the graduate level since undergraduates are trained to be generalists. During the workshop the attendees’ discussion of the benefits of green education agreed with the survey’s findings: (1) enthusiasm (35 percent); (2) recruitment and retention (23 percent); and (3) increased job opportunities (18 percent). Overall, the attendees also agreed with the survey that green teaching aids the teaching of historical curricula (100 percent) and acts as a multidisciplinary tool (94 percent). In addition, the workshop discussion identified savings in laboratory equipment, chemicals, and supplies as huge benefits. Although the survey clearly indicated that the attendees felt that a lack of funding (91 percent) was an issue and during the workshop funding was occasionally mentioned, the workshop focused on the many content, growth, and implementation ideas.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement