Integrative Learning toward Social Responsibility in Teaching Engineering

Integrative Learning toward Social Responsibility in Teaching Engineering

Domingo A. Martín-Sánchez (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Minas y Energía, Spain), Ana García-Laso (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain), Ana Muñoz-van den Eynde (CIEMAT, Spain), Emilia H. Lopera-Pareja (CIEMAT, Spain), María Cornejo-Cañamares (CIEMAT, Spain) and Emilio Muñoz-Ruiz (CIEMAT, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0024-7.ch011


Technical University of Madrid, within the Spanish context, has profited of the introduction of a System of Internal Quality Assurance to build a road on the grounds of previous work on the culture of ethics in engineering. This way may drive the students training to incorporate in their curricula instruments leading to the recognition and acquisition of social responsibility. The road is paved with various educational elements, either mandatory such as the Mentoring project (aiming to minimize the gap in the transit between high school and university from a logistical point of view), or optional such a set of three: Monitoring (a system of academic support for improving the performance of in the students in their learning outcomes when face difficulties), Service Learning and Social Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Values in Engineering. This strategy combined with the convergence to the European Higher Education Area allows the selection of students able to integrate in their professional assets the idea and the commitment of making the human development more sustainable.
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The initiative undertaken by ETSIME a decade ago was originally aimed at following the model of the USA institutions. However the evolution of the teaching ethics program in the School of Mining and Energy of UPM under the Spanish context revealed the need to introduce changes from the model along the path. The initial proposal was turned out into the integrative learning toward social responsibility for introducing in teaching engineering as illustrated in this chapter.

The reflection on how to build the ETSIME strategy started by looking at the milieu conditions and the essential role played by the System of Internal Quality Assurance (SIQA) under the framework of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The axes underlining the evolutionary process of Bologna (1999) since the Sorbonne Declaration (1998) to the London declaration (2007) were aimed at assuming a common strategy for attaining the goal of cooperation and guaranteeing the quality of the process. This strategy was assigned in the London meeting (2007) to the so called Group E4 and it is based on five measures which might influence the elaboration of the future program of studies and hence the shaping of the academic disciplines and titles. These five measures are outlined as follows:

  • Development of SIQA in the institutions.

  • Elaboration of the suitable common norms, procedures and directives.

  • Establishment of a European Register.

  • The autonomy of the universities to select the organism for accreditation.

  • Recognition of the competence of the Member States for their acceptance of evaluations and extraction of conclusions to enhance their policies in Higher Education.

On the grounds of these measures, a landscape may be drawn in where it is possible to encounter actions at national level as well as actions with international compensations

Key Terms in this Chapter

AQU: The Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency, AQU Catalunya, is the main instrument for the promotion and assurance of quality in the Catalan higher education system. AQU Catalunya is entrusted with the assessment, accreditation and certification of quality in the universities and higher education institutions in Catalonia.

ACSUG: Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System was legally established on 30 January 2001 as a consortium between the Regional Government of Galicia and the three Galician universities. ACSUG has full legal personality and the necessary independence to be able to achieve its objectives to rigorous standards fully respecting university autonomy.

Social Competencies: are those extending the ones taught in the specific degree or branch and that are attending to train the students in a series of knowledge dimensions and values which may allow them to behave as citizens assuming compromises with people as well as acting responsibly on the common goods that will fashion their Professional scenario (Environment and Society) ( García Laso, 2014 ).

VERIFICA: Program evaluates the proposals of study plans (curricula) designed in line with the European Higher Education Area.

Group E4: is composed by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ( ENQA, 2000 ), the European Universities Association ( EUA, 2001 ), the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education ( EURASHE, 1990 ) and the European Students' Union ( ESU, 1982 ).

AUDIT Program: ANECA in cooperation with two other regional agencies, AQU and ACSUG, have developed the 'Assessment of Internal Quality Assurance Systems in Higher Education' (AUDIT program). The purpose of this initiative, which is addressed to all the university colleges and faculties that offer university education, is to provide guidance in designing internal quality assurance systems integrating all the activities implemented up until the present time related to degree programs quality assurance. Even though these orientations are addressed to university colleges and faculties, some relevant elements are of a transversal nature and belong to the university institution as a whole (i.e. issues referred to the hiring of academic staff, material resources and general services, etc.).

ACREDITA PLUS Program: The main objective of the new ACREDITA PLUS program (2010) AU19: The citation "ACREDITA PLUS program (2010)" matches the reference "ACREDITA PLUS Program, 2010", but the capitalization is different. , namely, to avoid the multiplicity of processes so that degree programs can obtain both national accreditation and a European/international quality label through best use being made of synergies between the two QA processes.

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