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Collaborative Teaching Of A Course In Technology, Society, And The Natural Environment

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Wider Contexts of Ethics for Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.319.1 - 10.319.8



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Paper Authors

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Dean Schroeder

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Doug Tougaw

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Collaborative Teaching of a Course on Technology, Society, and the Natural Environment Douglas Tougaw and Dean M. Schroeder

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Valparaiso University / College of Business Administration, Valparaiso University

1. Introduction

For most of the twentieth century, engineering educators in the United States focused largely on developing the technical expertise of their students. Little attention was paid to non-technical design constraints, nor to complexities that arise at the boundary between two disciplines. This strategy was enormously successful for many years, but changing technological and global competitive realities make such a limited approach no longer appropriate. With the emerging need for multidisciplinary teams, non-technical design constraints, and the ethical implications of engineering projects, it has become evident that engineers must understand and consider the larger context of their work and have the knowledge and attitudes necessary to foresee the potential impact of their work on society and the natural environment.1 Achieving this important goal begins with the way we educate our students. The question is how can we go about doing this?

The authors of this paper found useful insights into this question from an unlikely source – a graduate program in business. We share some of the lessons we learned that can help others when identifying ways to give our engineering students some of the non-technical skills and perspective they will need to succeed in an increasingly complex world.

2. The Valpo MBA Program

The Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program at Valparaiso University is uniquely positioned to offer us some interesting insights for engineering education. Before this three-year-old degree program was designed, extensive discussions were held with and input sought from both industry leaders and other academic units within the university. The MBA program development team operated with a mandate to make the program a “university” program by forging synergistic linkages to other units on campus – particularly engineering and law. Since the program director had an undergraduate degree in engineering and industry experience managing production facilities, and several of the key program donors were business leaders with strong engineering backgrounds, technology issues and engineering linkages were considered when designing the program. The result was a recasting of a traditional MBA program to emphasize three core principles:2

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Schroeder, D., & Tougaw, D. (2005, June), Collaborative Teaching Of A Course In Technology, Society, And The Natural Environment Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15599

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