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Counteracting the Social Responsibility Slump? Assessing Changes in Student Knowledge and Attitudes in Mining, Petroleum, and Electrical Engineering

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

22

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34338

Permanent URL

https://www.jee.org/34338

Download Count

76

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Paper Authors

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Jessica Mary Smith Colorado School of Mines

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Jessica M. Smith is Associate Professor in the Engineering, Design & Society Division at the Colorado School of Mines and Director, Humanitarian Engineering Graduate Programs and Research. She is an anthropologist with two major research areas: 1) the sociocultural dynamics of extractive and energy industries, with a focus on corporate social responsibility, social justice, labor, and gender and 2) engineering education, with a focus on socioeconomic class and social responsibility. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the intersection of engineering and corporate social responsibility. She is the author of Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West (Rutgers University Press, 2014), which was funded by the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2016 the National Academy of Engineering recognized her Corporate Social Responsibility course as a national exemplar in teaching engineering ethics. Professor Smith holds a PhD in Anthropology and a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degrees in International Studies, Anthropology and Latin American Studies from Macalester College.

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Greg Rulifson P.E. Colorado School of Mines Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7691-2247

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Greg is currently a AAAS Fellow at USAID. Greg earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice from UC Berkeley where he acquired a passion for using engineering to facilitate developing communities’ capacity for success. He earned his master's degree in Structural Engineering and Risk Analysis from Stanford University. His PhD work at CU Boulder focused on how student's connections of social responsibility and engineering change throughout college as well as how engineering service is valued in employment and supported in the workplace.

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Courtney Paige Stanton

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Carrie J. McClelland P.E. Colorado School of Mines

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Carrie J McClelland is an Associate Teaching Professor at Colorado School of Mines. Carrie is a registered professional engineer with a passion for teaching the next generation of engineers to be well-rounded professionals who consider the technical aspects and the broader effects of their work. Her current research interests center on pedagogical interventions in the classroom, including how to best teach technical and professional skills.

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Emily Sarver

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Emily Sarver is an Associate Professor of mining engineering, and adjunct faculty to civil and environmental engineering, at Virginia Tech. Her teaching and research interests center on responsible resource production, occupational health, and mine environmental monitoring. Dr. Sarver teaches about sustainable development principles and practices for mineral and energy resource projects at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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Linda A. Battalora Colorado School of Mines

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Linda A. Battalora is a Teaching Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department, a Payne Institute for Earth Resources Fellow, and a Shultz Humanitarian Engineering Fellow at the Colorado School of Mines (Mines). She holds BS and MS degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Mines, a JD from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, and a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from Mines. Prior to joining the Faculty at Mines, Linda served in various roles in the oil and gas industry including operations engineer, production engineer, attorney, and international negotiator for oil and gas project development. She teaches Properties of Reservoir Fluids, Petroleum Seminar, Field Session, Fossil Energy, Environmental Law and Sustainability, and Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition to teaching in the Petroleum Engineering program at Mines, Linda teaches courses in the Leadership in Social Responsibility, Humanitarian Engineering, Energy minor programs and the Natural Resources and Energy Policy graduate program at Mines. Linda is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR) Advisory Committee and is Chair of the Sustainable Development Technical Section. She is also a member of multiple professional organizations including the American Society for Engineering Education, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, American Inns of Court, American Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association. Her research areas include HSSE-SR, Sustainable Development, and the Circular Economy. She is a recipient of the 2018 SPE Distinguished Member Award, 2015 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished achievement by Petroleum Engineering Faculty award recipient, and the 2014 Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished contribution to Petroleum Engineering in Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility award recipient. She is also a SPE Distinguished Lecturer (2019-2020).

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Stephanie Claussen Colorado School of Mines

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Stephanie Claussen is a Teaching Professor with a joint appointment in the Engineering, Design, and Society Division and the Electrical Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines. She obtained her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Her current engineering education research interests include engineering students' understanding of ethics and social responsibility, sociotechnical education, and assessment of engineering pedagogies.

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Susan K. Peterson Marietta College

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Nicole M. Smith Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Mining Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a cultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests in livelihoods and extractive industries, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, artisanal and small-scale mining, and engineering education.

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Rennie B. Kaunda Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Rennie Kaunda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, and a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Kaunda spend 7 years in the mining industry where he worked on more than 50 global projects throughout Africa, Asia, South America and North America. Dr. Kaunda’s areas of expertise are surface and underground rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, numerical modeling and artificial neural network modeling. He has published/coauthored more than 13 peer-reviewed technical papers, 22 conference proceeding abstracts and 13 professional reports in addition to teaching classes and short courses on rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering. Dr Kaunda has performed or coordinated consulting services related to rock mechanics in surface and underground mines, and has also been involved in organizing and chairing sessions during several professional conference meetings.

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Abstract

Social responsibility is a key touchstone of the engineering profession, yet research shows that engineering students’ perceptions of the importance of public welfare actually decrease as they progress through the undergraduate curriculum. This has direct implications for the diversity of engineering students and workforces. Qualitative studies, for example, find that undergraduate women who place a high value on social responsibility leave engineering programs when they encounter unsupportive environments, decontextualized technical courses, and curricular difficulty. This paper builds on prior literature by sharing the results of research that integrated critical social science perspectives on corporate social responsibility (CSR) into technical courses in petroleum engineering, mining engineering, and electrical engineering – three fields routinely characterized as enrolling the least diverse student bodies in terms of gender. Our data consist of three years of pre- and post-survey data for about 800 students in classes that included sociotechnical learning about CSR. Our previous research demonstrated that these course experiences broadened students’ understanding of legitimate stakeholders and increased their interest in engineering ethics. In this paper, we explore whether this instruction influenced their desire to work for companies with positive reputations for social responsibility. Specifically, we investigate if students’ ability to recognize CSR as an integrated sociotechnical endeavor that directly involves engineering (as opposed to CSR as a “social” activity such as volunteering that is separate from engineering) resulted in positive changes in their perceptions of business serving society and their own expressed desires to work for corporations with positive reputations for social responsibility. We find that while students’ expressed desires to work for a socially responsible company increased from the beginning to the end of the course, those changes were not directly associated with viewing CSR as sociotechnical. Moreover, for the cohort data we have, those gains made from the beginning to end of a course did hold from year-to-year; rather, students expressed lower desires to work for socially responsible companies as seniors than they did as sophomores.

Smith, J. M., & Rulifson, G., & Stanton, C. P., & McClelland, C. J., & Sarver, E., & Battalora, L. A., & Claussen, S., & Peterson, S. K., & Smith, N. M., & Kaunda , R. B. (2020, June), Counteracting the Social Responsibility Slump? Assessing Changes in Student Knowledge and Attitudes in Mining, Petroleum, and Electrical Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34338

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