The program teaches students how to research, approach, and resolve sustainability issues with a hands-on focused on real-world solutions. Students study the intersection of social, economic, and environmental factors in an all-English program to foster a sustainable future for a competitive global society.
Students of Sustainability Science & Engineering will gain a hands-on education through projects and laboratories as well as English-taught courses in chemistry, physics, calculus, ecology, engineering, economics, policy, and management.
The word “Sustainability” is a rather broad term that encompasses a concept, a strategy, and an action. But in principle, the ultimate purpose of “sustainability” is to help the growth of a society, in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. That society can be referred to a small community (such as a campus or a township) or a larger population (such as a large city, a country, or trans-boundary territories). It is very difficult to discuss sustainability in a large scale, and often it falls into a jargon instead of something meaningful and doable.
So we would like to focus our definition of “sustainability” on community development and corporate business, which is far more realistic and tangible for students. But even so, we feel that students in today’s higher education in Taiwan are not equipped to face the challenges of developing a community or running a corporate sustainably. For example, when a city is planning for a long-term development plan, who is best-suited to join a team to take on the task? Who has the ability to have the vision, the technical knowledge, the business mind, and the people skill to lead or to be part of the task team? Similarly, when a corporate is developing a business plan or an operational plan, what type of a person with the right training is fitted for the job? Who has the vision and the capacity to help his company develop a competitive product, cost effectively, and in a sustainable way? On-job training is imperative, but the right education in school plants the seed to reach his or her capacity. I can tell you this: more than a few times company top managers asked me to recommend students who have good marketing skills and with a technical background. I simply told them that, with today’s education system, you would have to be very lucky to run into someone that fits the bill. So, you can imagine how hard it is to train young people to have sufficient technical background, with a decent marketing capacity, while having sustainability ingrained in his mind.
But that exactly what we need in today’s job market, young people who have the necessary knowledge, the people skill, and the mind of sustainable development. Our Sustainability Science and Engineering program is comprised of three curriculum categories: First, the “Global Leadership Program” to develop visions and business and leadership skills; second, the core science and engineering courses that prepare students to be the driver of a circular economy; third, a “capstone” program to expose students with real-world problems in the forms of community-based design projects and internships. We expect our students to be important contributors to the sustainable development of both the communities they live in and the companies they work for.