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Whether considering global warming, the rapid consumption of the world’s natural resources, the aging of the US infrastructure, environmental injustice or other contemporary societal challenges, it is clear that optimally the next generation of engineers must develop socio-technical solutions for highly complex problems involving systems with natural, human, and engineered elements. We cannot expect to address problems of such multi-domain systems by technology alone. For example, while technology can contribute to addressing the societal challenges associated with critical infrastructures, it is now recognized that such multi-domain systems require the expertise and participation of highly diverse teams. Collaborative efforts among engineering sub-disciplines, and between technical and social scientific or humanities fields are vital. In such cases the coordination of such diverse experts becomes a principal challenge that cannot be ceded to technology; civil engineers are often in a position of having to serve this role. There is a need to develop a new educational paradigm that promotes holistic learning and fosters linkages between social and technical domains so that we may educate and train the civil engineers of the future.

Research done within the American Society for Engineering Education and other scholarly bodies has shown that major curricular reform in engineering education can face signifcant obstacles. These include established practices of accredidation systems and individual institutions. IIA will undertake study of both more and less successful reform efforts of this kind to understand the conditions that surround educational innovation in engineering.

Studies have shown that the intergrated curricular approaches proposed by IIA will also encourage increased particpation by underrepresented minorities in technical fields. Further, IIA's educational priorities include the development of connections to K-12 outreach projects and programs to encourage the transfer of students from two year technical programs into Drexel's full fledged undergraduate engineering programs. With the goal of increased public participation in infrastructure planning, IIA will also engage in community outreach and communication projects.

IIA is involved with the following education research...