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A Classroom Discussion of Applied Ethics

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Approaches to Teaching Ethics

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.23.1 - 25.23.8



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Paper Authors


Yilmaz Hatipkarasulu University of Texas, San Antonio Orcid 16x16

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Yilmaz Hatipkarasulu holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from Louisiana State University. He is currently the Coordinator of the Construction Science and Management program at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

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Suat Gunhan University of Texas, San Antonio

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Suat Gunhan received both his bachelor's of architecture and master's of science in architecture degrees from Dokuz Eylul University, and a Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Construction Science and Management program at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

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A Classroom Discussion of Applied EthicsEthics, social responsibility, and trust are critical issues for all professions in the builtenvironment including design, architecture, engineering and construction. Stakeholders ofbuilding construction projects recognize the importance of these issues through the creation ofthe codes of ethics and professional conduct. Feedback from the industry representatives andpracticing professionals often mention the increasing need for this subject.Over the years, the professional degree programs in higher education placed a large emphasis onethics education. Professional ethics and social responsibility subjects are also a part of theaccreditation requirements for most programs. There are educational materials available forethics education which provide information at the fundamental level, however, the discussionsand study of these subjects are highly dependent on the instructor’s approach and perspective. Inmost cases, the students are presented with basic information and asked to review case studies.Although this approach is effective when there are multiple, well-developed and detailed cases, itdoes not actively simulate the decision making process.This paper presents an example for classroom discussion on how to consistently apply ethicalprinciples in the decision making process. This example has been tested in the classroom overthe years and, based on this experience, possible student reactions and tips on how to direct thediscussion are included in the paper. The purpose is to present a detailed resource forconstruction educators for presentation and active discussion using a simple example thatstudents can easily relate to. Although the example provided in the paper focuses on a singlescenario, different scenarios can be developed using the same framework and discussionstructure.

Hatipkarasulu, Y., & Gunhan, S. (2012, June), A Classroom Discussion of Applied Ethics Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20783

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