Amanda Stathopoulos, Curriculum Development

Curriculum Development Award, 2017

Awardee Amanda Stathopoulos is the William A. Patterson Junior Chair of Transportation and an assistant professor in the civil and environmental engineering department in the McCormick School of Engineering. She works at the intersection of science and humanities and is a teaching fellow in Northwestern’s Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. Her course will focus on connecting students’ understanding of civil engineering with knowledge of current societal challenges. They will learn to identify problems in urban environments and customize engineering solutions for individual communities and cultures.

Engineering Possibilities: Decision Science in the Age of Smart Technologies

In her course, Amanda Stathopoulos invites civil and environmental engineering freshmen to develop a holistic understanding of potential options and outcomes of interventions in urban systems, specifically those in response to environmental, energy, health and mobility challenges. The goal of the course is to “prepare students to address the complexity of problems and engineering solutions with pervasive (and conflicting) impacts.”

The course will give students multiple perspectives on global problems while helping them understand how local conditions contribute to the success or failure of real-life engineering projects. Through a mixture of lectures, discussions with industry professionals and experts, in-class exercises and teamwork, students will be able to identify urban challenges, research and apply analysis tools and find relevant data and metrics to rank possible solutions with an understanding of implications and trade-offs.

“There is ample evidence that young engineers are eager for space and tools to reflect on the social impact of their work,” Stathopoulos notes.

Through teaching students how to evaluate technological, economic and policy implementations as well as the benefits, costs and trade-offs of competing solutions, Stathopoulos says she hopes this course will provide these opportunities for students in the beginning of their engineering courses, helping to increase critical thinking and engagement throughout their education.

 

The above is an excerpt from: Faculty given support to create innovative curriculum, Northwestern News, December 20, 2016 | By Kayla Stoner