In times of social climate protection movements, such as Fridays for Future, the priorities of society, industry and higher education are currently changing. The consideration of sustainability challenges is increasing. In the context of sustainable development, social skills are crucial to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, the impact that educational activities have on people, communities and society is therefore coming to the fore. Research has shown that people with high levels of social competence are better able to manage stressful situations, maintain positive relationships and communicate effectively. They are also associated with better academic performance and career success. However, especially in engineering programs, the social pillar is underrepresented compared to the environmental and economic pillars.
In response to these changes, higher education institutions should be more aware of their social impact - from individual forms of teaching to entire modules and degree programs. To specifically determine the potential for improvement and derive resulting change for further development, we present an initial framework for social impact measurement by transferring already established approaches from the business sector to the education sector. To demonstrate the applicability, we measure the key competencies taught in undergraduate engineering programs in Germany.
The aim is to prepare the students for success in the modern world of work and their future contribution to sustainable development. Additionally, the university can include the results in its sustainability report. Our method can be applied to different teaching methods and enables their comparison.
Nierle, E., & Pieper, M. (2023). Measuring Social Impacts In Engineering Education To Improve Sustainability Skills. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/QPR4-0T22
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