Published on June 17, 2015

Working Book Title: Engineering Peace, Prosperity, and Sustainability:Ethics and Communication in Humanitarian Engineering Service-Learning in the Developing World

Abstracts Due July 15, 2015

Beth Jorgensen, Saginaw Valley State University (book editor)

I am seeking first-time publications for an edited volume on service-learning that explores how teaching and learning are transformed through field-based experiences in humanitarian engineering and/or engineering for sustainability. Articles should focus on applied theory or pedagogical theory in field experiences that aim to achieve pedagogical transformation in the contexts of social and environmental justice. This collection highly encourages the contributions of voices/participants from project countries.

Contributors are expected to speak directly and in depth about the communication aspects of engineering in field experiences, and how those efforts contributed (or worsened) these engineering or technical efforts. Such communications might range from formal contracts to verbal negotiations with locals to dealing with political unrest in the project country to communicating technical information within intercultural, as well as interdisciplinary, project teams.

Of particular interest are the ethical elements of applying and communicating systems thinking in cross-cultural settings and/or the application of a “liberatory stance,” in both pedagogy and in project planning, as defined by Paolo Freire. A liberatory stance may be defined as one which serves to mitigate the “banking” model, defined as one in which educators and project leaders are meaning-making subjects, while students and served populations are recipients of knowledge and objects of study.

In short, I am looking for serious examinations of how communications, critical thinking, and cultural awareness efforts directed toward first-world students are put into place, how well they work, and what should be done differently next time. While theory may be part of the chapter you propose, it should not be the only focus. Real, transformative, applicable information is needed int hese chapters, enabling future service-learning and humanitarian engineering endeavors to enact better practices.

Chapters that suggest how such service learning opportunities can transform the engineering curriculum are particularly welcome, as are articles that examine the strengths and shortcomings alike of programs including, and similar to, Engineers Without Borders and offer ideas on how to improve practices in the future, including shared curricular materials.

Relevant questions:

  • How do these field experiences transform or disrupt the engineering classroom?
  • How do these experiences contribute to student (and instructor) understanding of what engineering can and cannot do?
  • How do these experiences demonstrate to instructors and students alike that engineering, alone, cannot solve problems?
  • How do these experiences mitigate or reinforce assumptions about top-down expertise and decision-making?
  • How do these experiences mitigate or reinforce assumptions about local knowledges, assets, and capacities?
  • How do these experiences highlight, or fail to highlight, distinctions between engineering for industry and humanitarian engineering?
  • How do perspectives embedded with educational privilege enhance or deter communication processes and project results?

Interested authors should send a 300-word abstract to by July 15, 2015. First full drafts of chapters (6000 words) are due September 15, 2015 and final versions are due January 1, 2015.

The editor of Engineering Peace, Prosperity, and Sustainability, Beth Jorgensen, is an associate professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) with research specialties in writing pedagogy and the rhetoric of sustainability. Dr. Jorgensen’s publications include “Lines, Angles, and Squares: Linear Rationality in American Idiom” in Global Encounters: Pedagogical Paradigms & Educational Practices and“Teaching and Learning Democracy in the Wake of Sept 11” in Education Landscapes in the 21st Century: Cross-cultural Challenges and Multi-disciplinary Perspectives. She has worked extensively with the STEM program at SVSU, including technical editorship of Soft Solids: A Primer to the Theoretical Mechanics of Materials by Alan D. Freed and Computational Mathematics with MATLAB for Engineers by Enayat Mahajerin.