June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This work-in-progress paper presents preliminary findings on how teaching engineering ethics is justified by academic administrators and policymakers, drawing from data collected in a multi-institution collaborative project called “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education”. The project seeks to understand the practice of engineering education reform using data collected from a larger number of oral interviews at a variety of academic institutions and other organizations in engineering education.
Investigations of effective strategies for the ethical development of engineering students have been pursued extensively in engineering education research. Canvassing this literature reveals not only diverse approaches and conceptions of engineering ethics, but also a diverse set of rationales and contexts for justifying the development and implementation of engineering ethics coursework and programs. It is also evident that the students’ ethical development is shaped by how the subject is delivered, e.g., the use of case studies or “best practices”, as well as the underlying reasons given to them about why ethics is taught. Institutions send signals to their students, even without intending to, about the importance of engineering ethics to their professional identity through their choice in how and why they address this matter.
Our initial analysis of interview data from over a hundred subjects from more than twenty universities demonstrates the diverse ways in which ethics education is justified. The most common reason offered are satisfying ABET accreditation requirements and complying with the recommendations of a disciplinary professional association (e.g., ASME or ASCE). Resistance to notions such as professional judgment, and the absence of any substantial reference to engineering ethics in general conversations about educational decision making and governance are other initial findings from our work.
Fatehiboroujeni, S., & Akera, A., & Riley, D. M., & Cheville, A., & Karlin, J., & Appelhans, S., & De Pree, T. (2019, June), Board 72: Why Engineering Ethics? How Do Educators and Administrators Justify Teaching Engineering Ethics? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32416
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