Integrative Learning Toward Social Responsibility in Teaching Engineering: “Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education”

Integrative Learning Toward Social Responsibility in Teaching Engineering: “Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education”

Domingo Alfonso Martín Sánchez (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain & Unidad de Emprendimiento Social, Ética y Valores en Ingeniería, Spain), Ana García Laso (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain & Unidad de Emprendimiento Social, Ética y Valores en Ingeniería, Spain), Jorge Luis Costafreda Mustelier (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Minas y Energía (UPM), Spain) and José-Luis Parra y Alfaro (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Minas y Energía (UPM), Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1238-8.ch002

Abstract

The Technical University of Madrid, within the Spanish context, has profited from 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, leadership instruments that can be used for the recognition and acquisition of social responsibility. The road is paved with various educational elements, either mandatory, such as the “Mentoring Project” (peer support program), or optional, such as “Monitoring” (peer academic support program), “Ethics and Values in Engineering” (with social entrepreneurship projects) and “Service-Learning” (methodology that combines learning objectives with community service). This strategy, combined with the convergence of the European Higher Education Area, allows selecting those students who are able to integrate in their professional assets the idea and commitment of making the human development more sustainable, since the named experiences work towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
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Background

The reflection on how to build the ETSIME-UPM 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 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. Under such strategies designed for accreditation in the EHEA, it seems of particular relevance the launching and establishment of a European Register - following the indications of the meeting at Bergen (2005) - of the different organizations for accreditation and SIQA, which may fulfill a series of the demands required.

In 2012, a review of The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA adopted in Bergen (ESG) was carried out “to improve their clarity, applicability and usefulness, including their scope”. This revision is reflected in the 2015 version of the ESG, where the standards for quality assurance have been divided into three parts:

  • Standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance

  • Standards and guidelines for external quality assurance

  • Standards and guidelines for quality assurance agencies (European Association for Quality in Higher Education, n.d. (a))

After consulting the existing bibliography, a table (Table 1) has been drawn up showing the different political milestones related to higher education, highlighting mainly two topics: Quality assurance and social dimension

Key Terms in this Chapter

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 ).

ACREDITA PLUS Program: The main objective of the new ACREDITA PLUS program (2010) , 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.

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.

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.

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.

EUR-ACE®: Is a framework and accreditation system that provides a set of standards that identifies high-quality engineering degree programmes in Europe and abroad.

SDGs: On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force.

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