New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 7

Accepted Abstracts

Facing Future Challenges: Building Engineers for Tomorrow

Carmen Leicht-Scholten, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

Linda Steuer, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

Anna Bouffier, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)

Abstract

Future engineers are increasingly confronted with the so-called Megatrends which are the big social challenges society has to cope with. These Megatrends, such as “Silver Society”, “Globalization”, “Mobility” and “Female Shift” require an application-oriented perspective on Diversity especially in the engineering field. Therefore, it is necessary to enable future engineers not only to look at the technical perspectives of a problem, but also to be able to see the related questions within societies they are developing their artefacts for. The aim of teaching engineering should be to prepare engineers for these requirements and to draw attention to the diverse needs in a globalized world.
Bringing together technical knowledge and social competences which go beyond a mere training of the so-called “soft skills”, is a new approach followed at RWTH Aachen University, one of the leading technical universities in Germany. RWTH Aachen University has established the bridging professorship “Gender and Diversity in Engineering” (GDI) which educates engineers with an interdisciplinary approach to expand engineering limits. In the frame of a sustainable teaching concept the research group under the leadership of Prof. Carmen Leicht-Scholten has developed an approach which imparts a supplication-specific Gender and Diversity expertise to engineers. In workshops students gain theoretical knowledge about Gender and Diversity and learn how to transfer their knowledge in their special field of study and later work. To substantiate this, the course participants have to solve case studies from real life. The cases which are developed in collaboration with non-profit organizations and enterprises from economy rise the students to challenges which are inspired by professional life. Evaluation shows the success of this approach as well as an increasing demand for such teaching formats.

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