The “Engineering for Social Change” Course: A CECD Experiment

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The course entitled Engineering for Social Change was offered as an experiment to study the unintended consequences of technology at the intersection of engineering, philanthropy, and social change. The pilot program, in collaboration with the School of Public Policy, was started in the spring semester of 2015 and was concluded with the final offering in the Fall of 2022. The experiment was conducted under the aegis of the Mechanical Engineering Department but almost entirely funded by CECD and The Neilom Foundation. The student body consisted of undergraduate engineers from the entire college, computer science students, and some foreign exchange students. The offering was consistent with the vision of the Center for Engineering Concepts Development (CECD), which is to serve as a platform for experimenting with new ideas in engineering education, future technologies, research, and the impact of engineering on society. The Engineering for Social Change course was a very successful experiment as evidenced by the overwhelmingly positive student feedback. The key concept of unintended consequences from technological progress opened an entirely new and challenging thought process. The many expressions of support, engagement, and excitement makes the point more clearly than what we can say.



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