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Engineering Ethics A Collaboration Between Engineering And Philosophy

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Papers Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.550.1 - 9.550.11



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Paper Authors

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Margaret P. Battin

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Gordon B. Mower

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Angela R. Harris

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JoAnn Lighty

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Engineering Ethics – A Collaboration between Engineering and Philosophy

JoAnn S. Lighty, Margaret P. Battin, Angela R. Harris, Gordon B. Mower University of Utah, College of Engineering/ College of Humanities, Department of Philosophy


The College of Engineering at the University of Utah has recently initiated a Center for Engineering Leadership, born out of a recently-awarded grant from the Hewlett Foundation, CLEAR (Communication, Leadership, Ethics, and Research). The Center’s goals are to incorporate communication skills, team building, and ethics into the College’s eight programs, and throughout the entire 4-year curriculum. To accomplish this, we have used the model of an already successful communication program in Mechanical Engineering, where Teaching Assistants from Humanities are brought into the engineering classes and communication skills are taught as “situational” learning, and we have developed an ethics component involving faculty and TA’s from the humanities. This paper will discuss the ethics component of the project.

The College of Engineering and the Department of Philosophy recently collaborated in constructing and teaching “Engineering, Ethics and Society”, an upper-division humanities- designated course for the entire campus. The objective of “Engineering, Ethics and Society” is to present a framework of ethical theory to the students and interweave that theory in various presentations of case studies in engineering. The case studies are presented by engineering professors and industry colleagues. In this fashion students learn to recognize ethical aspects of various decisions and what ethical dilemmas they may face as engineers. In addition, a goal is to have one of the two teaching assistants work on modules for placing in other engineering classes in the sophomore and senior year, to ensure coverage of ethics in the entire curriculum.

The paper will cover the structure and content of the course, the population of students within the course, and student feedback. In addition, several faculty members from engineering - including the Associate Dean, and two Professors - are auditing the class, and their feedback is included. Finally, a discussion of future improvements and expansion of the class is presented.


Over the last several years, the University of Utah, College of Engineering, has been preparing for its Fall 2003, ABET EC 2000 visit. EC 2000 requires several new and different challenges for students in the College, specifically under Criterion 3, Programs Outcomes and Assessments:

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Battin, M. P., & Mower, G. B., & Harris, A. R., & Lighty, J. (2004, June), Engineering Ethics A Collaboration Between Engineering And Philosophy Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14129

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