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1) How is MIT attempting to educate its scientists and engineers generally
about integrating environmental sustainability into their analysis?
The important prerequisite was to form an interdisciplinary faculty group interested
in integration and development in this area. The purpose of such a group is to insure cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. PEEER (the MIT Program for Environmental Engineering Education and Research) is a "virtual" program. Faculty from different
disciplines belong voluntarily drawn by the intellectual challenge and their desires to
improve our performance in this area. Together they have helped to build exciting new
programs such as:
a. Programs for Environmental Professionals
A new undergraduate degree program in Environmental Engineering Science
administered by Civil and Environmental Engineering announces the start of a whole new discipline. The program presently has about 5% of MITs undergraduates enrolled.
The provision of six subject Minor Programs in Environmental Engineering Science
for Students in other Engineering, Science, Planning, Management and Humanities
Preeminent Professional and Research Oriented Graduate Programs in every aspect
of Environmental Engineering Science.
b. Programs for Other Professionals to help them increase their knowledge of how decisions about material selection, technologic process, product use and design and recycling impacı sustainable development
New undergraduate and graduate literacy subjects that require few prerequisites
have been established. An example has been an award winning series in Chemicals in the Environment covering sources, controls, movement in the environment, toxicology and
regulation and policy.
The introduction of new introduction of small environmental modules and examples into basic professional subjects. We want to send the message that every professional has,
among his/her responsibilities, concern for the environment.
New professional and research degrees for other science and technology majors. We have developed a new Masters degree in industrial ecology which features an internship in industry and integrating knowledge about life cycle analysis. We have developed new research and educational programs in environmentally-sound technologies, in green design,
in recycling, business and the environment, and in energy and the environment.
Both these programs are increasingly interacting with industry and government to put students into intern situations in industry, to bring practitioners back to the university and to bring professional tools and approaches (like TQM) into education.
Through this mechanism we have been able to make these opportunities available to all our
students. (Please recall that even the poets at MIT take a year-long core of calculus, physics, chemistry, biology and other science- and technology-intensive subjects freshman year.) Thus our students bring strong reprequisite knowledge and problem solving skills
to these difficult problems.
2) How many other colleges and universities also have well developed
programs to integrate environmental sustainability into traditional science and engineering education?
We see other schools attempting to do similar things, although most have focused
on research first and education second. (Tufts and Michigan are notable exceptions.) All
have to fight the battle of how to bring faculty from different disciplines to cooperate. Our
experience tells us it is better to let this grow in a "bottoms up" voluntary manner than to
force it from the "top down" with permanent artificial structures such as Departments or
Schools of the Environment. Programs based on this legislation should attempt to grow
and demonstrate voluntary cooperation instead.
There is still missing knowledge to keep the process growing - which this legislation should attempt to address through research for education. Life Cycle Analysis
has many unresolved information and philosophical issues. Industrial organization may impede technologic process. Firms are also interested in goals of lower cost, higher quality, better worker safety, reduced liability, and global competitiveness as well as sustainable development. How does one design for all these goals? The bill should
encourage the building of this new knowledge and the free interchange of new materials
and concepts between universities as well as between government, industry and public
3) How could the federal government best catalyze this type of educational
A) Encourage at participating universities the building of "voluntary infrastructure" to bring together the many disciplines needed to make this process work. Provide these
organizations with incentives for new activities based on cooperative action.
B) This education is important for all students, not just those who want to be
environmental professionals. For those who are on other tracks, influence them through
literacy subjects, modules in existing subjects, and environmentally-oriented design
exercises. Make sure that students learn the social, economic and political context of their
technologies as sustainable development is about making difficult choices among
alternatives in multi-cultural settings with different values.
C) Build strong links within academia and between academia, industry, government and public groups. Mechanisms are incentives for bringing students and faculty into contact with "real problems", and for bringing professionals back to campus.
D) Help provide the basic knowledge needed to expand life cycle analysis, industrial metabolism and industrial ecology concepts from rough sketches to fully
understood methodologic tools with the data and case studies needed to use them.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee for this opportunity to give my views on
this important piece of legislation, and I will be pleased to respond to your questions.
PROGRAM IN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
David Hunter Marks
Tel: (617) 253-1992
Fax: (617) 258-6099 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 December 1993
Mr. Tim Valentine, Chairman
Dear Chairman Valentine:
Thank you for your November 29, 1993 request for my opinions on how the Federal government an encourage activities such as those being developed at MIT in university programs across the nation. You ask how would I envision at what level of support should my recommendations be enacted for timely benefit to the Nation?
The goal here should be to bring academia into partnerships with government and industry in helping to do research in new environmental technologies and to help to educate the future generations of students who will work with and evolve these technologies. I would argue that relatively small additional resources are needed if provisions to bring academia, government and industry together are added to existing programs. Examples are:
The National Science Foundation routinely funds curriculum development and
DOE, ARPA and NIST are all interested in manufacturing and in new industrial technology transfer and development. Environmentally conscious Manufacturing is an integral part of such efforts - not a side show. Encourage any new government/industry manufacturing efforts to bring in academia for research in technologies and life cycle methods. For a relatively small increment, universities can become part of important industrial systems/energy and environmental conservation research that cannot be carried out on their own. Interaction with industry and government on large scale studies and technology transfer will bring new ideas, create better understanding of problems and greatly influence engineering and scientific education.