June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session - Ethics in the Engineering Curriculum
The ethical practice of engineering requires engineers to go beyond considering how their profession contributes to a broadly construed “public good.” While the paramountcy principle importantly places social responsibility at the center of engineering practice, Deborah Johnson [1, pg 93] argues that it also treats the public as a “black box” and “hides all the complexity and diversity in the public.” In “Ethics is Not Enough,” Carl Mitcham (2016) attributes this focus on impossibly large social groups to engineers’ comfort dealing with idealized abstractions. In this paper, we analyze the extent to which taking a critical approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) changed the ways in which engineering students identified potential stakeholders and imagined ways to harness engineering designs to benefit them.
The paper draws from pre- and post-module survey responses of about 450 students in targeted mining engineering, petroleum engineering, and liberal arts courses conducted from Fall 2016 to Spring 2018 at the Colorado School of Mines, Virginia Tech, Marietta College, and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. To address the questions of how students identified stakeholders and strategies for using engineering to benefit them, we focus on two groups of questions: one that asked students to identify stakeholders and the other that asked them to rate examples of potential CSR projects. We conduct paired t-tests, conduct the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank tests for the non-parametric samples, and calculate the effect size to determine if the changes in student-by-student responses observed over the course of the modules were statistically significant. We offer preliminary assessments of why student learning varies across courses, including content and context, instructor background, and length and depth of the CSR modules. Finally, we use that analysis to offer some initial recommendations for teaching practices that broaden students’ understandings of who stakeholders are and how engineering can be harnessed to promote their wellbeing.
1. Johnson, D. (2017). Rethinking the Social Responsibilities of Engineers as a Form of Accountability. In D. P. Michelfelder, B. Newberry, & Q. Zhu (Eds.), Philosophy and Engineering: Exploring Boundaries, Expanding Connections (pp. 85–98). Switzerland: Springer. 2. Mitcham, C. (2016). Ethics is Not Enough: From Professionalism to the Political Philosophy of Engineering. Leadership and Personnel Management: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, 1350–1382. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-4666-9624-2.ch060
Smith, J. M., & Rulifson, G., & Grady, C. L., & Smith, N. M., & Battalora, L. A., & Sarver, E., & McClelland, C. J., & Kaunda , R. B., & Holley, E. (2019, June), Critical Approaches to CSR as a Strategy to Broaden Engineering Students’ Views of Stakeholders Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32567
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