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An Nsf/Bovay Endowment Supported Workshop To Develop Numerical Problems Associated With Ethics Cases For Use In Required Undergraduate Engineering Courses

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.77.1 - 1.77.9



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Paper Authors

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Professor Michael J. Rabins

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Jr., Professor C. Edwin Harris

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Jeremy E. Hanzlik

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3332

An NSF/Bovay Endowment Supported Workshop to Develop Numerical Problems Associated with Ethics Cases for Use in Required Undergraduate Engineering Courses

Professor Michael J. Rabins Director of the Ethics and Professionalism Program in the College of Engineering, Professor C. Edwin Harris, Jr. Associate Head of Department of Philosophy Jeremy E. Hanzlik Bovay Fellowship Student Texas A&M University

In August of 1995 thirty-five faculty from around the nation, supported by the National Science Foundation, joined eight undergraduate fellows, supported by the Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Ethics Endowment, for a one-week workshop on the campus of Texas A&M University to achieve an innovative goal. That goal was to develop engineering ethics resource material that could be easily introduced at all levels of the engineering curriculum and in all engineering disciplines. To accomplish this task, it was decided that the development of a new set of engineering ethics cases which would include numerical problems would be the best course of action. The numerical and ethical problems based on these new cases could then find a niche in many required undergraduate engineering courses as home-work problems, quiz problems or lecture demonstration problems. The presentation which this paper summarizes covers the approach adopted and results achieved at the workshop. The thirty-six faculty participants (including a visitor from Mexico) are listed alphabetically in Figure 1, along with their affiliations and e-mail addresses. All of the participants from this workshop are dedicated to helping you use these cases as effectively as possible. You should feel free to contact the case authors. They are prepared to respond to any e-mail queries.

The eight Bovay Undergraduate Fellows who worked alongside the faculty participants are also listed. These Bovay Fellows were students who had earned an A in the Engineering Ethics course at Texas A&M University, and who had a high engineering grade point average. The students not only provided reactions to the case problems, but also contributed some excellent cases themselves.

The participants were lead by group discussion leaders (facilitators): Mark Holtzapple, Lee Lowery, John Tyler and Alan Letton (Dr. Letton is now the Dean of Engineering at the Tuskegee Institute). These leaders have worked with ethics cases and are experienced faculty members at Texas A&M.

During the workshop, Professor Lee Lowery delivered a presentation of one of his cases on the World Wide Web (WWW). By popular demand, he gave an intensive short course which detailed the creation of WWW files. These presentations helped to set the course towards the final product. The last abstract of this report summarizes the ASEE Mini-Plenary presentation on the WWW.

The approaches of the four groups in selecting appropriate cases were somewhat different, although each group tended to operate in a similar manner. The groups talked through the candidate cases and came to consensus decisions regarding which cases to pursue. They then divided into small working teams to create each case and the associated problems. Since the close of the workshop, the cases have been reviewed, edited, approved by the authors and placed on the WWW. Not all submitted cases could be used in the final product and report to the NSF. In order for a case to be used it had to meet the following criteria: widely useable in an

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Rabins, P. M. J., & Harris, J. P. C. E., & Hanzlik, J. E. (1996, June), An Nsf/Bovay Endowment Supported Workshop To Develop Numerical Problems Associated With Ethics Cases For Use In Required Undergraduate Engineering Courses Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6214

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1996 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015