June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.274.1 - 22.274.10
Awareness of Social Impact of Engineering: The task for Engineering Schools? Prof. Dr. Melany M. CiampiPresident of Safety, Health and Environment Research Organization – OPASS and Vice President of International Society for Engineering Education - IGIPSocial groups have ambiguous understanding about science and technology; someunderstand it as responsible for the environmental deterioration and the voraciouscapitalism and others as the ones responsible for the better quality of life with theimprovement of health systems, agricultural production and other accomplishments. Bothperceptions are not far from the reality. In any case the impacts can be seen along thehistory and more recently with the sophistication of the so called “information society”.This particular “information society” shows how strong can be the impact of anytechnology introduced in the society. Real time communication, brutal amount ofinformation available have changed drastically how people relate, make business andstudy. Engineering occupies an important role in this “brave new world” and it is in factcrucial for the development of science and technology and more important it isresponsible for the delivery of such technologies on the service of the betterment ofhumanity. This aspect may lead to the notion that engineers should be aware of theresponsibility to society as they contribute to its development. It is to be aware of theimpacts not only environmental but also social of the outcomes of projects. Lookingcloser to the formation of engineers, there is still a prevalence of good technicalformation without thinking of a broader knowledge achievement. This broaderachievement is not a recent idea; the French School of Engineering implemented underNapoleon governance formed the “Mr. Engineer” that prepared leaders with high profileof technical knowledge. Even after the globalization phenomenon, with all thediscussions about introducing humanistic courses in engineering programs the results arehumble. There is still a difficulty for engineers to address technology to solve socialissues rather than to apply technology regardless social needs. The other point is that thedesign of a project now for the “informed society” has to take into account the socialimpacts as well as the environmental. So the question is the engineering school preparingthe future engineer to perform in the new challenging social environment? If it is possibleto suggest some actions the key is to prepare the future engineers to learn how to workclose to the communities and the governments, addressing the outcomes of the projects tosolve sociotechnological problems.
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