BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
As engineering programs have begun to infuse sustainability into their undergraduate curricula, assessment tools are needed to further inform these reform efforts. The goal of this project was to demonstrate the use of a new rubric to examine students’ abilities to engage in sustainable design. The rubric includes 16 sustainable design criteria and rating scales to capture student performance and instructor/sponsor requirements. Three judges used the rubric to evaluate 40 capstone design projects completed between 2002 and 2011 by civil and environmental engineering seniors at a large, research intensive university. Results indicate that sustainable design performance in the capstone course changed little over 10 years, despite efforts to integrate sustainability into the curriculum. Students tended to address those criteria that were explicitly required of them by instructors or external project sponsors, which were related to social sustainability more than other sustainability dimensions. As a result, more explicit integration of sustainable design requirements into capstone courses may be needed to ensure that students understand the importance of, and are able to practice, developing designs in a sustainable manner.