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Encountering Engineering Ethics in the Workplace: Stories from the Trenches

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Industrial, Professional, and Practical Contexts of Engineering Ethics

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37030

Download Count

78

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Paper Authors

biography

Dayoung Kim Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dayoung Kim is a Ph.D. Candidate in Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her current research interest centers on engineering ethics and social responsibility, and she is specifically interested in cultural influences on engineers’ moral formation. She earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea) in 2017 and M.S. in Chemical Engineering at Purdue University (West Lafayette, USA) in 2021.

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Shiloh James Howland Brigham Young University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9165-3562

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Shiloh James Howland is a doctoral candidate at Brigham Young University in Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation. She received a master's degree in instructional psychology and technology as well as a bachelor's degree and master's degree in geology. Her current research interests are in educational assessment and measurement.

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Brent K. Jesiek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Brent K. Jesiek is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Engineering Education and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He also leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award to study boundary-spanning roles and competencies among early career engineers. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech. Dr. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to advance understanding of geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and practice.

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Abstract

While formal coursework remains one of the most common strategies for developing ethics knowledge and competence among engineering students, ethical situations also surface in many other settings. In our own research on engineering student perceptions of ethics and social responsibility, we found that many engineering interns and co-ops reported encountering ethical issues or dilemmas in the workplace. To further illuminate such encounters, this paper aims to: 1) identify and describe real-world ethical issues encountered by engineering students in workplace settings, and 2) investigate what students learned from these experiences. We address these objectives by reporting select results from an ongoing qualitative analysis of 33 interviews with undergraduate students in their fourth year of college. We more specifically present a series of illustrative cases drawn from four of the interviews, selected because the participants described specific work situations in considerable detail and the cases represent a wide variety of ethical concerns. The purpose for sharing these cases is threefold. First, we note some specific lessons that our subjects learned (or failed to learn) through the selected cases. Second, we argue that the workplace is a particularly rich setting for learning about professional ethics. Third, we make recommendations for better scaffolding and supporting student learning in workplace settings. We expect this paper will be of particular interest to engineering ethics scholars studying where and how students learn about ethics, instructors looking for ways to enhance and extend ethics learning, and students preparing for internship, co-op, and/or full-time job roles.

Kim, D., & Howland, S. J., & Jesiek, B. K. (2021, July), Encountering Engineering Ethics in the Workplace: Stories from the Trenches Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37030

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