Engineering Education and Practice

Embracing a Catholic Vision

Edited by James L. Heft, S.M., and Kevin Hallinan

Notre Dame Studies in Ethics and Culture

Engineering Education and Practice: Embracing a Catholic Vision is a collection of essays exploring how major themes of Catholic social teaching—respect for the environment, sustainability, technological design, and service to the poor—all positively affect engineering curricula, students, and faculty. Many engineering programs at American universities focus solely on developing technological sophistication without promoting ethical and humanitarian priorities. The contributors to this collection argue, however, that undergraduate engineering education needs to be broadened beyond its current narrow restrictions.

The authors of this unique collection, nearly all of whom are engineers themselves, show how some Christian universities in the United States have found creative ways of opening up their engineering curricula. They demonstrate how the professional education of engineers can be enriched not only by ethical and religious themes, which are typically isolated in humanities curricula, but also by special fieldwork courses that offer hands-on service-learning opportunities and embody a rich educational synthesis.

James L. Heft, S.M., is Alton Brooks Professor of Religion and President of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.

Kevin P. Hallinan is professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Dayton.

Contributors: David J. O’Brien, John Staudenmaier, S.J., James Heft, S.M., Kevin Hallinan, Brad J. Kallenberg, Margaret Pinnell, Daniel A. Pitt, Hamid A. Rafizadeh, Jame Schaefer, Camille M. George, Barbara K. Sain, Daniel H. Zitomer, Lars E. Olson, Scott J. Schnedier, Carmine Polito, Douglas Tougaw, and Kraig J. Olejniczak.

“Engineering and the Catholic tradition are synergistic, as this outstanding collection of essays aptly demonstrates. The editors address the very important issue, articulated by Blessed Pope John Paul II in Ex corde ecclesiae, of how engineering can satisfy its ‘search for meaning’ by ensuring that new technologies be used for the authentic good of persons and of human society as a whole. This should be required reading for all engineering faculty.” — Peter Kilpatrick, University of Notre Dame

“Engineering Education and Practice: Embracing a Catholic Vision provides an overview of what engineering education in a Catholic university can be at its very best and how this vision can be integrated across both the liberal arts and the professional dimension of engineering education. This volume speaks boldly of vocation and spirituality as a foundation for a Christian’s professional life in engineering. It is an excellent guide for exploring engineering education within a university that takes its faith traditions seriously.” — Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M., University of Dayton

“Engineering Education and Practice is a superb introduction to how engineering education and research should take place in Catholic or, more generally, in Christian universities. The diverse group of contributors—mostly engineers and theologians who have pursued both teaching and research careers at Catholic universities with engineering schools—offers an appealing combination of theoretical and practical essays. Their efforts are sure to play a role in the very rich discussion currently ongoing at every level of Christian higher education about how to retain what is distinctive about Christian higher education while making necessary reforms.” — David Solomon, W.P. and H.B. White Director, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame


“The collection of ten essays examines how sixteen Catholic colleges and universities that offer engineering degrees combine Catholic values with instruction. . . . These essays provide an in-depth analysis of the relationship of technology to the Catholic vision of a world based on social justice and love of God. The authors discuss ethical thinking from the time of Augustine, Aquinas, and Hugh of St. Victor (1120s) to relevant nineteenth and twentieth century encyclicals.” — Catholic Library World

“For new engineering educators or those with minimal exposure to theological approaches to engineering education, these essays provide an introduction to theological integration with the engineering/technology field. In addition, for someone who is unsure of how to implement Catholic and Christian ideas into engineering, examples are given that demonstrate how some institutions have pursued this vision.” — Journal of Education and Christian Belief

“This book’s added strength comes in case studies from a handful of colleges (not all of them Catholic) that teach engineering with a sense of vocation, faith and mission. Being Christian in itself adds nothing to an engineer’s work. But an engineer informed and inspired by faith, this book suggests, will approach work excellently.” — Initiatives

“This is the first published book-length treatise to explore the connection of Christian faith from a Catholic perspective within the domain of engineering. . . . A fine start on a needed topic, this book will be helpful to Christian engineers and technologists, particularly for educators at faith-based institutions.” — Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith