New CEE Leadership Minor Focuses on Global Issues, Ethics, Problem-Solving

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering students working on a water project in Nicaragua in March 2013. (Photo Courtesy of Jaehong Kim.)

What does it take for a young engineer to become a leader who solves some of the biggest challenges facing society?

A grasp of global issues, to start with, along with cultural literacy, ethical foundations and the ability to relate to people, according to the minds behind a new minor for Georgia Tech engineers.

The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) will roll out the first of a new series of courses this fall to develop that next generation of globally conscious engineers. Together, the courses form a new minor for undergraduates in global engineering leadership development.

Along with other initiatives, the minor responds to the call from the National Academy of Engineering to educate a new kind of engineer for the 21st century, a “world-class engineer,” says Adjo Amekudzi Kennedy, CEE associate chair of global engineering leadership and research development.

“A world-class engineer has very good problem-solving skills, is knowledgeable about global issues, is an effective communicator, is ethically and culturally competent, and can lead in the business, public service and humanitarian sectors,” Kennedy said. “The world is increasingly in need of such engineers: Engineers who understand the social implications of their decisions and can help develop high-performance cities and sustainable communities over the course of their lifetimes. Engineers who can rise to leadership positions to help shape the future.”

The global engineering leadership development track will be formally approved as part of the leadership studies minor in fall 2015. But students can start taking classes this fall and apply them toward the minor as long as they don’t graduate until the program receives official approval.

“Given the rapid pace of globalization, and its impact on the engineering profession, this minor is more important than ever,” said Reginald DesRoches, Karen and John Huff Chair of CEE. “The students in this minor will be exposed to some of the most challenging problems facing the world and some of the leading thinkers in the field.


“I hope that our students will strongly consider participating in the program. It will be something that they enjoy, and it will make them more marketable when they leave our program.”

Assistant Professor Joe Brown will teach the inaugural course, Global Health and Sanitation (CEE 4803X). A second course is scheduled for spring 2015—Environmental Quality in Developing Countries—and a third course rolls out next summer—International Disaster Reconnaissance Studies.

Students will also complete a related internship or an international engineering capstone experience.

(Teaser image courtesy of elementa1 via