• Open Access

Teaching Industrial Ecology at Dalian University of Technology

Toward Improving Overall Eco-Efficiency


Address correspondence to:
Yong Geng
No.72 Wenhua Road, Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology Chinese Academy of Sciences China


With increasing resource depletion and environmental issues in China, it is both desirable and practical to promote industrial ecology (IE) education. While industrial ecology education in China is still in its infancy, we believe it can be improved through systematic review of specific experiences. We outline and assess the experience with teaching of industrial ecology at the Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in northeastern China. We first provide an overview related to industrial ecology education in China and then present a detailed description of eight teaching modules focused on industrial ecology at DUT: history and evolution of IE, cleaner production, life cycle management, design for environment, integrated waste management, industrial symbiosis and eco-industrial parks, circular economy, and sustainable consumption. Particular attention is given to teaching methodology. All lectures and discussions are in English; written assignments and verbal presentations in English are required, as is a final research paper and extensive use of Chinese and international case studies. Overall pedagogy emphasizes active learning and critical reflection. The grading system relies on individual written assignments, an oral presentation, participation, and a research paper. Challenges encountered include the difficulties for some students due to their limited competency in the English language, facilitating students to shift from passive to active learning, and attracting management students to the course. Postcourse evaluations indicated that the students’ understanding of industrial ecology increased.