Fall 2010

Course Syllabus

Course No: LAIS 477/577
Title: Engineering and Sustainable Community Development

Class Meetings: Tues and Thur, 12: 30 pm to 1:45 pm

Course Website:

Instructor: Juan C. Lucena, Ph.D.

• Email: (best way to contact. I check email regularly from 5am to 10 pm)
• Phone: 303-273-3564 (leave message and I will try to answer in 48 hours)
• Office Hours: Tues & Thurs: 11 am to 12:30 pm and 2 to 3pm (Stratton Hall 424)

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the relationship between engineering and
sustainable community development (SCD) from historical, political, ideological, ethical, cultural, and
practical perspectives. Students will study and analyze different dimensions of community and
sustainable development and the role that engineering might play in them. Also students will critically
explore strengths and limitations of dominant methods in engineering problem solving, design, and
research for working in SCD. Students will learn to research, describe, analyze and evaluate case
studies in SCD and develop criteria for their evaluation.

Required Course Readings:

• Lucena, Schneider and Leydens. 2010. Engineering and Sustainable Community Development.
Morgan & Claypool (Electronically at CSM library or on paper at CSM bookstore)

• All other required readings available on Blackboard (BB) course website

Learning Objectives: By completion of this course, you will be able to

1. Identify ideologies, events, institutions, and actors in the history of development and how these
relate to specific development projects where engineers participate.

2. Understand at least one theoretical framework and one approach to listening in order to begin
working with community towards SCD.

3. Identify, describe and analyze the potential contributions that engineering can make to SCD as well
the limitations that engineering has as an approach to SCD.

4. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of Engineering Problem Solving (EPS), industry-based
engineering design, and engineering knowledge with respect to SCD.

5. Provide and critically assess definitions of SCD to analyze and evaluate project-based case studies
in engineering and development.



Fall 2010

Teaching Philosophy: Here are my core believes about teaching and learning:

I believe that education should be about students’ learning more than about teachers’ teaching.
Teachers should trust students and facilitate their learning. Students come to my classes with a set of
experiences, previous knowledges (note the plural), expectations, conceptions and misconceptions that
shape how they learn. Our collective job (not just mine) is to make these explicit, to critically assess
how these enhance (or hinder) your learning, and to provide you with a new set of experiences,
knowledges and hopefully a new way of looking at the world. More than giving you a grade, my main
responsibility is to help you acquire a life-long commitment to “check your knowledge”, i.e., to
critically question what you know (and don’t know), how you came to know it, what you know it for,
and to get ready to acquire new knowledge for new circumstances. Your responsibility is to learn this
skill and apply it for the rest of your life.

I believe that student learning is an evolutionary process that requires time to process and question
new ideas and concepts. The acquisition of new knowledge, especially one that might challenge your
core believes and values, often elicits strong resistance. Our shared responsibility is to acknowledge
this and help you move beyond this resistance. As resistance fades away as the semester unfolds, your
learning should increase, your thinking should become more sophisticated and your attitude for new
knowledge becomes more welcoming. This course is built in such a way that will allow you the
opportunity to evolve in your learning.

I believe that the creation and acquisition of new knowledge is a social process. You will have
plenty of opportunities to develop and process your own individual ideas but soon you will be co-
creating and co-acquiring knowledge with your peers. Pair and group activities in the classroom are
fundamental elements of this collaborative process. Hence your active participation in these will be
highly valued. Yet the writing of quizzes and papers is an individual activity where you are expected to
follow CSM’s honor code.

I believe that our writing is a reflection of our ideas. To produce good, clear and powerful writing,
we need to have good, clear and powerful ideas (and vice versa). This requires close and in-depth
reading, a commitment to listening, opportunities to test ideas with others, time to reflect about these
exchanges, and a continuous engagement with our own drafts. Hence good writing cannot happen the
night before a paper is due. My responsibility is to guide you towards good readings, help you develop
your listening, provide you with opportunities to test ideas with others, and allow you ample time
between the assignment of a paper and its due date. Your responsibility is to engage the readings, be
willing to listen, share your ideas with others, and give yourself plenty of time to outline, draft, edit
and re-edit your writing.

Furthermore, I believe in the power of diverse ideas and arguments. All of us come into this course
with opinions (weak and strong). Our collective responsibility is to turn these into powerful and well-
supported arguments that can hopefully have an impact on the world. To do this we need a respectful
and nurturing environment to share opinions and explore ways to turn them into well-crafted
arguments. Hence one of my primary roles is to construct and maintain such classroom environment,
constructively challenge your opinions and help you transform them into well-supported arguments.
Your role is to be open to this challenge and to be respectful of the classroom environment and of
others’ attempts at transforming their opinions.



Fall 2010

Course Policies:

This course consists of in-depth reading, lectures, in-class collaborative exercises, films, quizzes and
papers. As an educator, one of my responsibilities is to put great deal of effort and thinking in
developing these elements and offering them to you to help you learn. As a student, your responsibility
is to reciprocate this effort by seriously exploring the reading assignments, being prepared to discuss
them in class, actively participate in collaborative learning, and effectively and critically incorporate
this material in quizzes, papers, and (hopefully) in your own thinking and practices.

As I expect you to evaluate the quality of my teaching and mentoring, you should expect me to
evaluate the quality of your learning and intellectual growth in this course. Ours is a partnership of
teaching, learning and exploration. Hence you should expect that higher quality of discussion,
exploration and writing will warrant you higher grades while lesser quality or incomplete work will
warrant you lesser grades. Your grades are based on both the quality of your performance (not so
much on how many hours you spend working) and your level of commitment to the learning process
and objectives. Specifically, here are the expectations for you to ensure a good grade in this course and
for me to get good teaching evaluations from you

You should expect a good grade from me if
I should expect good teaching evaluations
from you if I
complete assigned readings on time, be ready
assign relevant readings and provide you with
to discuss and engage them, and use them
opportunities to explore these readings in ways
effectively throughout the course
that enhance your learning

attend scheduled class meetings regularly since show up prepared to teach class and provide a
without you the learning environment will be
learning environment that will encourage all
void of your perspective and your potential to
students to come to all classes
teach others

participate in class discussions and activities
prepare relevant and effective classroom
regularly by raising questions and making
activities and allow students the opportunity to
contributions that are relevant and enhance the make mistakes in order to facilitate learning
learning of other students, including making
mistakes so you and others can learn from
these (if you text, browse or do other
homework you will be robbing the class
from your ability to teach others)

complete ALL readings, quizzes and papers on assign relevant quizzes and papers, grade them
the assigned dates, displaying commitment to
in a timely fashion
learning, scholarship and further inquiry

commit to and apply CSM’s Student Honor
commit to and apply standards of
Code when completing quizzes and papers in
professionalism in my teaching, including
this course
developing original teaching material or giving

due credit to others when using their material



Fall 2010


Class attendance (100 pts)

Now that you understand my teaching philosophy, it should be no surprise that class attendance is extremely
important and valued. Hence 10 points will be deducted for each unexcused absence. Excused absences are
ONLY the following: official sport varsity team travel, a medical condition excused in writing by doctor, a
personal matter excused in writing by the Dean of Students office, jury duty, military duty or common
examinations as indicated in writing by the department giving the examination.

Participation, commitment and respect for the learning process (150 pts):

In this area I value four elements: engagement (how interested are you in doing your individual or group call
activities?), relevance (how appropriate are your contributions to the learning environment?), being on time
with your work (are you turning in work on time and keeping up with the readings?), and respect (are you
respectful of others’ perspectives and of the classroom environment?). I welcome many types of contributions to
class discussion, and two in particular. Comments that feature a knowledge claim supported by well-structured,
logical, and relevant evidence advance everyone’s collective understanding. Note that well-supported claims are
not just stated opinions. Second, I recognize that not all thoughts come out fully formed, so I also invite
exploratory contributions to class discussion, comments that are characterized more by questioning and
inquiring than by answering and defending a position. I will begin actively seeking student participation after
the fourth class meeting in order to give everyone an opportunity to first feel comfortable with the classroom
climate, topics, nature of discussion, instructor, and process writing. Since texting, online searching and/or
doing homework for other courses have become pervasive activities, I must clearly state that doing any of
these in class will significantly impact this part of your grade.

Papers (500 pts):

A proposal and 3 papers are required for this course. Papers will increase in complexity and points as your
learning, knowledge and critical thinking evolve. Specific writing guidelines and expectations will be distributed
later. Late papers will incur in a 10-point penalty for every day after the due date. The expected point
distribution is as follows:

• Proposal on a development project (50 pts)
• Paper 1 on historical and ideological dimensions of development (100 pts)
• Paper 2 on community dimensions of development (150 pts)
• Paper 3 on engineering and community development (200 pts)

Quizzes (250 pts):

Every now and then, you will write in-class an/or take-home quizzes on key concepts from the readings and/or
key questions that emerge throughout the course. These will help you develop your ideas and gain clarity on key
concepts as you move towards more complex writing in your papers. Points for each take-home quiz will be
determined at the time of assignment. There are no make up quizzes unless you have an excused absence
(see above).

Writing Center

You are strongly encouraged to use the resources and experience available at CSM’s Writing Center for writing
your papers. The Center is located in Stratton 309, and their phone number is 303-273-3085.



Fall 2010
(Due to the flexibility needed to schedule external speakers, readings might change at times. Students
will be informed in advance.)


Tue 8/24
Self-assessment and interpretation of course objectives

Thu 8/26
What is
World Bank. 2004. “What is development?”

Easterly, William. 2006 “Planners vs. Searchers” from The
White Man’s Burden
Tue 8/31
What is
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Building Organizations and
Mapping Communities: A Civil Engineer’s Work after

Discovering Water” from Engineering and Sustainable
Community Development.

Jackson, Jeffrey. 2005. “Building Dams” and “Fixing Dams”
from The Globalizers
Thu 9/2
Student process
Project proposal guidelines distributed

Tue 9/7
Engineers and Big
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Engineers and
Development” from Engineering and Sustainable Community

Thu 9/9
Engineers and small
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Why Design for Industry
Will Not Work as Design for Community” from Engineering

and Sustainable Community Development.

Tue 9/14
Student process
Project proposal due


Thu 9/16
Student process
On project proposals; how to research projects; available

resources; difficulties and opportunities.
Paper 1 guidelines distributed
Tue 9/21
What is community?
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Engineering with
Community” from Engineering and Sustainable Community
Thu 9/23
What is community?
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Engineering with
Guest: Prof. Jen
Community” from Engineering and Sustainable Community

Tue 9/28
A theoretical
Bridger and Luloff, “Toward an interactional approach to
framework for SCD
sustainable community development”



Fall 2010
Thu 9/30
Student process

Tue 10/5
Guest: Dave
Thu 10/7
Film: Still the Children are Here (85 min)
Paper 1 due; paper 2 guidelines distributed

Tue 10/12
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Listening to Community”
Guest: Prof. Jon
from Engineering and Sustainable Community Development.
Thu 10/14
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Listening to Community”

from Engineering and Sustainable Community Development.
Tue 10/19
Fall Break
No class


Thu 10/21
Student process
More on researching a project paper

Tue 10/26
How have engineers
Williams, Bess. 2007. “Small-Scale Technologies for the
Developing World: Volunteers for International Technical
Assistance, 1959-1971.”

Thu 10/28
How have engineers
Jackson, Jeffrey. 2005. “The Expats” from The Globalizers:
Development Workers in Action
Tue 11/2
Engineering vs. Local Scott, James. 1998. “Thin Simplifications and Practical
Knowledge: Metis” from Seeing Like a State.

Thu 11/4
On local knowledge
Film: Dreamers of Arnhem Land (50 min)

Paper 2 due; paper 3 guidelines distributed

Tue 11/9
Case studies on SCD: Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Case Study: Sika Dhari’s
Windmill” from Engineering and Sustainable Community


Thu 11/11
Student process
Film: Dam/Age

Tue 11/16
Case studies on SCD: Ramirez, et al. 2010. Participative Methodology for Local
ISF Colombia and
Development: The Contribution of Engineers Without Borders
from Italy and Colombia: Towards the Improvement of Water
Guest: Prof. Catalina Quality in Vulnerable Communities
Ramirez, founder of

ISF Colombia



Fall 2010
Thu 11/18
Case studies on SCD

Tue 11/23
Independent study

Thu 11/25
No class

Tue 11/30
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Students’ perspectives on
transformation, and
ESCD: A course model” from Engineering and Sustainable
learning in ESCD
Community Development.

Thu 12/2
Student process
Paper 3 due

Tue 12/7
Can engineers be
Lucena, Schneider, Leydens. 2010. “Beyond Engineers and
partners and leaders
Community: A Path Forward” from Engineering and
in SCD?
Sustainable Community Development.

Thu 12/9
Last class
Student self-assessment on their relationship with SCD