CIVIS Project - Center for Resources in General Education

Center for Resources in General Education (CIVIS): Towards Student Success in General and STEM Education
Efraín O'Neill-Carrillo, Dana L. Collins, Juan López Garriga, Raúl Macchiavelli, José A. Cruz
Abstract - Researchers at the University of Puerto RicoMayaguez (UPRM) have conducted an analysis of student needs and have identified strategies to respond to the General and STEM education challenges at UPRM. A Center for Resources in General Education (CIVIS) has been established to deal with these challenges by providing students and professors a new, integrated perspective (focused on General and STEM skills) of the curriculum, and by enabling student academic success through various learning opportunities. CIVIS brings together faculty from Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration and Engineering in order to develop activities that provide interdisciplinary and global perspectives to UPRM's General Education. The Center focuses on two main activities: 1) Paths to Student Success, and 2) Sustainable Context with the use of student learning modules tying the activities together. All initiatives of the Center are supported by a recent grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and are based on the success of initiatives that have been previously tested at a smaller scale at UPRM. CIVIS provides resources to expand the reach of those initiatives and will ensure sustainability by the institutionalization of those initiatives.
Beyond Traditional Power Systems: Energy Externalities, Ethics and Society
Efraín O’Neill-Carrillo, Senior Member, IEEE, Héctor R. Zamot, Michelle Hernández, Agustín A. Irizarry-Rivera, Member, IEEE, Luis O. Jiménez-Rodríguez, Member, IEEE
Abstract - Existing electric power infrastructures were based on the continuous availability of non-renewable fuels that can be stored close to the point of generation. Nevertheless, an increased use of renewable energy in electric power generation requires a paradigm shift in order to create new energy infrastructures and practices better suited for renewable sources. The decisions needed to create this new energy paradigm must go beyond the traditional economic perspective to include broader and complex social and environmental issues. This paper presents the integration of technical, economical, environmental and social aspects in power systems research guided by sustainability principles. The framework used was developed at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, and is based and informed by ethics.
Integrating Sustainable Energy in Engineering Education
Efraín O’Neill-Carrillo, José A. Colucci-Ríos, Agustín A. Irizarry-Rivera
Abstract - A sustainable energy initiative is presented as a means of integrating sustainability in engineering. Instructional energy modules for use in engineering courses are the central point of the initiative.  The energy modules cover topics directly related to a sustainable energy future such as the social impact of energy; health and safety issues in energy; energy, environment and society; energy public policy; sustainable energy; and  energy efficiency and conservation. These modules can be adapted to any engineering discipline creating an interdisciplinary focus that could be used for curriculum development or other collaborative activity. The proposed modules as a group can also address general education and accreditation requirements such as ABET criteria.
CHEM E Sustainable Energy Demos, Workshops, Town Hall Meetings and Other Stakeholder Engagement: Working the Pipeline
José A. Colucci-Ríos, Miriam Fontalvo, Efraín O’Neill-Carrillo
Abstract – A Sustainable Energy Laboratory in the Chemical Engineering Department has been instrumental in the effective incorporation of sustainability into chemical education targeting audiences (hundreds per year) from the whole spectrum: K-12, undergraduate students, graduate students and the general public. The latter includes strong alliances with various stakeholders that led to several awards such as the 2009 EPA Region II Environmental Quality Award. The laboratory’s cultural transformation started in 1995 sponsored by the Department of Energy with environmentally friendly topics related to renewable energy such as Fuel Cell applications, Solar Detoxification, Biomass Conversion processes, etc. Workshops and Demonstrations were integral components of those efforts. At the turn of the century the focus increased to include sustainability principles such as social equity, ethics and community participation but with energy as the central theme. This focus has been primarily supported by a Sustainable Energy Initiative implemented in the College of Engineering. These activities are effective in providing information to various stakeholders and increasing interest in sustainable energy.