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Creating Faculty Buy-in for Ethics-across-the-curriculum: Year One of Developing an Ethics Curriculum in an Undergraduate Biological Engineering Program

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30234

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Xiaofeng Tang Ohio State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6279-9941

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Xiaofeng Tang is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at the Ohio State University. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in engineering ethics at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Jeffrey M. Catchmark Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Jeffrey Catchmark is currently Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering and has 9 years industrial experience and 17 years academic experience. He has produced over 130 publications and 8 patents. Dr. Catchmark’s research focuses on polysaccharide composite materials as a sustainable barrier material/adhesive alternative to synthetic polymers for packaging, food handling, and construction materials. His work on biomaterals production also intersects with healthcare, tissue engineering and food engineering. He also conducts research on cellulose and nanocrystalline cellulose formation and production, particularly from bacteria. Finally, Dr. Catchmark is a Faculty Fellow of the Rock Ethics Institute where he is involved with ethics education and research on ethical leadership and decision-making and ethical organizational management.

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Eduardo Mendieta

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Eduardo Mendieta is professor of philosophy and acting director of the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State University

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Thomas A. Litzinger Pennsylvania State University

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Thomas A. Litzinger is Director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. His work in engineering education involves curricular reform, teaching and learning innovations, assessment, and faculty development. Dr. Litzinger has more than 50 publications related to engineering education including lead authorship of an invited article in the 100th Anniversary issue of JEE and for an invited chapter on translation of research to practice for the first edition of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. He serves as an Associate Editor for Advances in Engineering Education and on the Advisory Board for the Journal of Engineering Education. He was selected as a Fellow of ASEE in 2008 and of ASME in 2012. He holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from RPI, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton.

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Abstract

This paper reports the first phase of an on-going, multi-year project that seeks to create an integrated ethics curriculum for undergraduate Biological Engineering (BE) majors at a large, public university. Our objective is to create an exemplar process that encourages engineering faculty members to contribute to, and develop ownership of, the ethics curriculum.

Literature in engineering education research has called attention to faculty buy-in as one of the key indicators of successful educational innovation. Scholars of ethics education also note engineering faculty’s attitude as a crucial factor in meaningful integration of ethics in the engineering curriculum. Informed by the findings reported in the engineering education and engineering ethics literature, our project team attempt to engage BE faculty in an ethics curriculum development initiative through five stages: 1) need assessment interviews, 2) faculty workshops, 3) curriculum design, 4) curriculum implementation, and 5) project assessment and improvement. This paper reports in detail the first two stages of this on-going project. First, one of the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with instructors of BE courses to understand present coverage of ethics and perceived need for improvement. Second, authors of this paper organized three interactive workshops, in which the BE faculty and the curriculum development team explored frameworks of ethical reasoning, appropriate ethics pedagogy, and ethics-related learning objectives. These engagement activities resulted in a list of eleven ethics related learning objectives agreed upon by the BE faculty.

Informed by the interview findings and the list of ethics learning objectives, the authors will continue to work with a team of instructors to develop appropriate course contents, instructional materials, and delivery methods in four successive courses that spread across the junior and senior years of the BE curriculum. The design, implementation, and assessment of the ethics curriculum will be reported in future publications.

Tang, X., & Catchmark, J. M., & Mendieta, E., & Litzinger, T. A. (2018, June), Creating Faculty Buy-in for Ethics-across-the-curriculum: Year One of Developing an Ethics Curriculum in an Undergraduate Biological Engineering Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30234

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