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Darshan teaches courses that strive to create dialogue and reflection between engineering and non-engineering students, to expose students students to perspectives they might not otherwise be exposed to, and to have students generate good ideas to populate the world.

Climate Change, Energy, and Social Justice

FIS 494/EGR 494/HSD 598/EGR 598 (undergrad + grad)

This discussion-based class provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of 1) what climate change is; 2) how current energy use contributes to climate change; and 3) the social justice impacts of energy use, climate change, and responses to climate change.  The class is both technical and non-technical, and draws on scientific literature, engineering case studies, ethics, justice, and science and technology studies.  


Topics covered include the basics of the climate system; projections of climate change; energy use and the causes of climate change; environmental and energy justice; climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience; climate justice; and domestic and international policy.  

The class makeup is interdisciplinary—students from engineering, environmental sciences and sustainability, physical sciences, sustainability, social sciences, and the humanities are essential participants in the class.

The Politics of Science and Engineering

FIS 494/EGR 494/HSD 598/EGR 598 (undergrad + grad)

This class poses three fundamental questions: Why are we engineers?  Who do we work for?  What is the full measure of our moral and social responsibility?  Through discussion and written reflection, this class is a space in which we challenge the assumptions we make in what it means to be an engineer, with the goal of being prepared to bring our full selves—not only our technical selves—to being professional engineers and to being constructive members of communities tackling complex social, technical, and ecological problems.

Next-Generation Sustainability Governance Design

SOS 594HSD 598/EGR 598 (grad)

How would you redesign the US Environmental Protection Agency to address today’s complex sustainability challenges?


Our framework for understanding environmental problems has evolved over the last few decades from a narrow focus on end-of-pipe pollution to a broader perspective of sustainability in complex adaptive systems. Yet the institutions we have to address these problems have not evolved as rapidly. In this workshop class, students will be part of an interdisciplinary team reimagining and designing the next generation of federal institutions for sustainability governance.  Students work on this project with several founders and former leaders of the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the author of landmark US environmental laws, integrating knowledge of complex social, ecological, technical, and economic systems with the real world challenges of governance.

Course sponsors: 

  • Tom Jorling, Former Minority Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Public Works, and co-author of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act

  • Marcia Williams, former Dep. Asst. Administrator for Pesticides and Toxic Substances, US EPA

  • Chuck Elkins, first Special Assistant to Bill Ruckelshaus (first US EPA Administrator)

  • Len Miller, former Dep. Asst. Administrator for Water, and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, US EPA

(Thermo-fluids) Mechanical Systems Project II

EGR 313 (undergrad)

Fluids are all around us and are components of and essential to life, the climate, technological systems, and society.  You’re breathing a fluid right now, and one is being pumped through your body.  In this introductory class to fluid mechanics, students get familiarized with the fundamentals of a beautiful science that governs physical events that surround us, from the plumes of volcanoes to missions to Mars to medical drug delivery systems.  We study in this course fluid statics, dynamics, and kinematics, each of which provide insight into various physical phenomena.  We discuss not only concepts like dimensional analysis and flows in pipes and over immersed bodies, but also the intersection of fluids with history, philosophy, social justice, and the environment.  

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