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Engineering Alumni Rate the Impact of Co-curricular Activities on their Ethical Development

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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

Moral Development and Ethics Assessment in Engineering

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37050

Download Count

6

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Paper Authors

biography

Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) and Director for the Engineering Plus program. She has served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the CEAE Department, as well as the ABET assessment coordinator. Professor Bielefeldt was also the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where students learned about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is also a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

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Jake Walker Lewis University of Colorado Boulder

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Graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder holding a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and a master's degree in civil engineering. Presented undergraduate research findings on ethics in co-curricular university environments in the form of a poster at the 2018 Zone IV ASEE Conference. Defended and published master's thesis examining ethics introduction in K12 STEM education in November 2019. Second co-author of the paper "Educating Civil Engineering Students about Ethics and Societal Impacts via Cocurricular Activities", published in the Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice and recognized as an Editor's Choice. Currently involved with research regarding ethics in engineering education with Dr. Angela Bielefeldt. Preparing to submit three papers regarding ethics in education for the 2020 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

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Madeline Polmear University of Florida Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7774-6834

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Madeline Polmear is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida. She completed her B.S. in environmental engineering, M.S. in civil engineering, and Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on bridging technical and nontechnical competencies to support the professional preparation and ethical responsibility of engineering students.

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Daniel Knight University of Colorado Boulder

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Daniel W. Knight is the Program Assessment and Research Associate at Design Center (DC) Colorado in CU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Science. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Louisiana State University, an M.S. degree in industrial/organizational psychology and a Ph.D. degree in education, both from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Knight’s research interests are in the areas of K-12, program evaluation and teamwork practices in engineering education. His current duties include assessment, team development, outreach and education research for DC Colorado's hands-on initiatives.

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Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-8938

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Chris Swan is Dean of Undergraduate Education for the School of Engineering and an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Tufts University. He has additional appointments in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts. His current engineering education research interests focus on community engagement, service-based projects and examining whether an entrepreneurial mindset can be used to further engineering education innovations. He also does research on the development of sustainable materials management (SMM) strategies.

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Abstract

This research explored the extent to which alumni felt that extracurricular activities during college impacted their ethical knowledge, reasoning, and/or behavior. The research utilized a mixed methods approach, with both an online survey and interviews. The survey asked “To what extent did co-curricular activities and/or informal learning experiences during college impact your ethical knowledge, reasoning, or behavior?” Alumni rated 9 activities based on a scale of: did not participate, involved but no impact (0), small impact (1), moderate impact (2), large impact (3). Among the engineering alumni, most activities were rated as having a moderate impact on ethical development among those who had participated, on average: volunteer activity (n 105, avg 1.9), fraternity/sorority (n 33, avg. 1.9), internship or co-op (n 100, avg. 1.8), design groups (n 90, avg 1.8), undergraduate research (n 75, avg 1.8), engineering service group (n 37, avg 1.7). Activities that averaged a smaller impact included: sports (n 74, avg 1.4), professional society (n 90, avg 1.3), and honor society (n 40, avg 0.8). Follow-up interviews were conducted with 14 alumni who described specific examples of ethical development from engineering service groups, internships, undergraduate research, the mini Baja team, the Society of Women Engineers, local community service / volunteer activities, student government, leading a non-engineering student group, a fraternity, and informal conversations with engineering professors. Some also noted that they participated in various co-curricular activities (e.g. professional societies) but did not believe they contributed to their ethical knowledge, skills, or reasoning. The perspectives of working engineers can help faculty advisors of extracurricular activities to integrate ethics education in these contexts.

Bielefeldt, A. R., & Lewis, J. W., & Polmear, M., & Knight, D., & Swan, C. (2021, July), Engineering Alumni Rate the Impact of Co-curricular Activities on their Ethical Development Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37050

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