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Craig Just Wins Teaching Sustainability Award

Posted on April 27th, 2017

By Mikael Mulugeta

The Institute of Industrial Engineers Sustainable Development Division has awarded Craig Just the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Sustainability Award.

The award recognizes Just, a University of Iowa professor of civil and environmental engineering, for his outstanding contributions toward advancing the knowledge and practice of sustainability in the field of industrial engineering. Just will receive the award at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo on May 22 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Just has been instrumental in the development of sustainability education at the University of Iowa since 2008, when his involvement in the design of the Certificate of Sustainability began. Just designed and taught the Introduction to Sustainability course, which was open to all majors, from 2009 until 2015. In 2010, he received a research grant from the Department of Education to develop and improve the course.

In recent years, sustainability principles have spread further and have become integrated into a variety of courses, Just says.

“In my Principles of Environmental Engineering course, the first chapter of the textbook is all about sustainability,” says Just. “Sustainability principles are interspersed within various engineering courses now. We’re really trying to paint the picture for our young engineers about the sustainability challenges that they’re going to have going forward.”

Just’s courses address sustainability issues including efficient water use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping people in resource-constrained countries develop with minimal pollution. He notes that public and corporate attitudes about sustainability have shifted greatly in recent years.

“It’s a recent development that you can talk about sustainability with companies and they recognize the value of being a sustainable company,” says Just. “To me, this award is a symbol that sustainability is taking root more deeply and broadly than it ever has before.”

Brion Hurley, a former student of Just’s and currently an employee of Rockwell Collins in Portland, Ore., nominated him for the award.

“Brion took my class while he was a working professional, working toward his sustainability certificate,” says Just. “Now he’s busy with his career but he and one of my faculty colleagues wrote letters for the nomination. The fact that people took time to nominate me is very humbling.”

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