Definition and Goals
“Engineering” can be defined as “the use of science and mathematics to invent, create, design, develop, or improve technologies.”
“Technology” is often thought of simply as a “tool” that extends human capability (e.g. from hammers to the internet).
“Humanitarian” has been defined as “concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare” (Apple dictionary), which is quite a bit broader than typical interpretations of this word (e.g., it does not just apply to disasters or international work, but local/domestic work).
Humanitarian engineering is the creation of technology to promote human welfare
It is natural, however, to clarify the meaning of "welfare" by defining it as "social justice:"
"Social Justice" can be defined as “standards for, and a view on how to promote via human interactions, human dignity and human fulfillment for all of humanity.”
This leads to the modifed definition:
Humanitarian engineering is the creation of technology to promote social justice
Humanitarian engineering is the creation of technologies that help people
Undergraduate engineering major with humanitarian engineering minor: Breadth in one engineering discipline, basic understanding of humanitarian engineering, human welfare, and service projects.
MS students: A "master" in one area in one engineering discipline, plus a basic understanding of humanitarian engineering, human welfare, and service projects.
PhD students: Deep knowledge in one topic in one engineering discipline, create new technology or method, leads the field, plus a basic understanding of humanitarian engineering, human welfare, and service projects
- Creative and curious
- Global engineers
- Socially responsible
- Adaptable and flexible
- Manage complexity
- Professional humanitarian engineers
(Adapted from ASEE)
For a publication on the Humanintarian Engineering Center, see: Greg Bixler, Joseph Campbell, Roger Dzwonczyk, Howard Greene, John Merrill, and Kevin M. Passno, "Humanitarian Engineering at The Ohio State University: Lessons Learned in Enriching Education While Helping People," Int. Journal of Service-Learning in Engineering: Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, pp. 78-96, Fall 2014.
Prof. Kevin Passino, Director, Humanitarian Engineering Center