June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.658.1 - 12.658.9
Engineering, Ethics and Society: Program Outcomes, Assessment and Evaluation
This paper describes a new course that has been offered to the engineering students at Tuskegee University during the past two years. This course provides the students with an understanding of: 1) the nature of engineering ethics, 2) the engineering activities in a societal context, and 3) the contemporary issues in the engineering profession. Moral complexities in the engineering profession have been highlighted through exposure to historical development, ethical reasoning, risk assessment, effects on environment, and global issues. Workplace responsibilities and professional codes of ethics are discussed. Several case studies are presented as well.
It has been apparent for some time that engineering education must provide insight for students related to the ethical issues in the engineering profession. Recently, the National Academy of Engineering published The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century to predict the roles that engineers will play in the future1. Also, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) gives criteria for engineering programs to follow2. Several of these criteria represent “professional skills” and are considered that they can be taught3. In view of these, the engineering departments at Tuskegee University have jointly developed a 3- credit hour course entitled “Engineering, Ethics and Society” which is required for all undergraduate engineering students.
This course has three major components: 1) the nature of engineering ethics, 2) the engineering activities in a societal context, and 3) the contemporary issues in the engineering profession. This course satisfies the following four of eleven ABET criteria: • Criterion f: an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility, • Criterion g: an ability to communicate effectively, • Criterion h: the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context, and • Criterion j: a knowledge of contemporary issues
The uniqueness of this course stems from the fact that, it is taught by a large number of faculty representing many disciplines such as philosophy, bioethics, physics, as well as aerospace, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. We believe that in this way students will be exposed to views of ethics from a variety of perspectives. Besides, many guest lecturers are invited to give lectures on ethical issues that they have experienced in the course of practicing their respective professions. An overarching objective of this course is to motivate students to life-long learning. Students participate in interactive town hall settings and produce major project reports.
Burge, L., & Aglan, H., & Ray, P., & Vahdat, N., & Price, C., & Sharma, P., & Sodeke, S., & Harris, V., & Murphy, G. (2007, June), Engineering, Ethics And Society: Program Outcomes, Assessment And Evaluation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2149
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