Integrative Frameworks for Technology, Environment, and Society I

This graduate-level seminar course is part of the MDE program's first-year core curriculum, comprising a two-course sequence spanning one year. The course focuses on building an integrated intellectual framework to explore the complex relationships between science, engineering, manufacturing, design, innovation, environment, sustainability, culture, aesthetics, business, public policy, and government. Through the study of various frameworks and lenses, students will gain insights into real-world problem-solving.  The course fosters critical thinking and intellectual literacy, providing a holistic perspective on the interplay between scientific progress, technological innovations, manufacturing systems, and their broader implications for industry and society. Through readings, discussions, and exercises, students will develop interdisciplinary knowledge and problem-solving skills, empowering them to address multifaceted challenges effectively in their professional endeavors.

Fall Semester Modules Topics:
   – Knowing and Understanding
   – Science, Engineering, and Design
   – Intellectual Property and Industry Standards
   – Basic Accounting and Finance
   – Manufacturing Processes and Systems
   – Business Strategy
   – Industry Architecture and Technological Innovation

Course Learning Objectives: The main learning objectives of this course are:

Critical Thinking for Problem Solving
– Ability to differentiate between various types of information, such as observations, assumptions, facts, opinions (assertions), beliefs, and prejudices, to facilitate unbiased and evidence-based decision-making
– Ability to reason at the level of first principles, fostering deeper understanding and innovative problem solving
– Proficiency in identifying significant problems, delving into their root causes, and proposing insightful and well-founded solutions

Integrative Analysis – Consilience across Disciplines
– Ability to integrate knowledge from engineering, business, design, sociology, psychology, government, and philosophy to approach real-world problems with a comprehensive mindset
– Ability to propose realistic and practical solutions that address the needs and perspectives of multiple stakeholders, bridging various disciplines

Intellectual Literacy – Establishing a Broad Background
– Broad knowledge base that will serve as a foundation for effectively solving real-world problems with interdisciplinary insights
– Broad knowledge base that will facilitate continuous learning

Course Structure and Format: This course will involve a significant amount of assigned readings from primary reference materials in science, engineering, business, economics, and management as well as prepared course materials and case studies based on specific companies.  In addition, attendance and active in-class participation in discussions of the readings, case studies and other group activities are expected and will be a significant factor in grading.  For the Fall semester, there will be a group project to analyze an assigned industry.

Recommended Background and Prerequisites: undergraduate level background in Physics, Chemistry, and/or Engineering and in Economics (none for MDE students). This course is for students enrolled in the Master in Design Engineering (MDE) graduate program. A small number of other students may be allowed to enroll by permission of instructor. After receiving approval, SEAS/FAS students should enroll in SEAS ES235A. MDE and all other students should enroll in GSD PRO 7231. This course does not count for concentration credit for SEAS undergraduate concentrators; this course does not count as a disciplinary course for SEAS Ph.D. students.

This course will meet for the first time as scheduled, on Tuesday, September 5th.