Humanitarian Engineering: Engineers Serving Communities

Our mission: Teach students how engineering can contribute to co-creating just and sustainable solutions for communities.

What is to co-create? To co-create is to define and propose solutions jointly with the communities that our students serve. Too often, interactions between engineers and communities rest under the assumption that engineers have all the knowledge, skills, and resources to solve problems for communities, which lack all of these. Such a perspective often gets in the way of effective solutions. Among other things, HE graduates understand and value the perspectives of affected communities, and then jointly propose and develop solutions.

What are just solutions? Just solutions contribute to more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources to enhance human capabilities while reducing risks and harms in a given community. HE graduates cultivate engineering practices, designs, artifacts, or systems that lead to just solutions to pressing challenges.

What are sustainable solutions? In the context of humanitarian engineering, sustainable solutions preserve or enhance communities’ economic diversity, political self-determination, and local ecosystems. Among other things, HE graduates co-develop with communities strategies for using energy effectively, conserving limited resources, and protecting biodiversity.

Humanitarian Engineering Minor outcomes: To achieve our mission, our graduates will be able to:

  • Reflect critically on the practices of engineering to know why, how, when and whether to use engineering in the co-creation of just and sustainable solutions.
  • Serve communities effectively and responsibly in collaboratively identifying problems and defining and providing solutions that are just and sustainable.
  • Design and build technologies that promote just and sustainable solutions.
  • Map career trajectories (corporate, public, NGOs, academic) that will enable them to work as engineers for just and sustainable solutions.

Take a look: See one of our humanitarian engineering projects up close, or meet some dedicated Humanitarian Engineering students and faculty.

And watch for exciting announcements as our first-in-the-nation Humanitarian Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines is improved and expanded.


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Last Updated: 09/01/2017 16:47:22