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Engineering Ethics Survey for Faculty: An Assessment Tool

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division - Technical Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

23.508.1 - 23.508.20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19522

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

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Frank E Falcone Villanova University

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Professor Falcone is a member of the faculty of the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. His primary fields of technical interest and experience are in Hydraulics, Hydrology, Fluid Mechanics and Water Resources. He has also taught Professional Practices in Engineering and Engineering in the Humanistic Context which is a course focused on exploring a wide range of ethical issues confronting engineers and engineering students on a day-to-day basis.
Falcone is registered professional engineer, a diplomat in the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, a retired captain of the U.S. Navy, a former William C. Foster fellow at the U.S. Department of State and a consultant for the U.S. Department of State in the field of International Arms Control.

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Edward F. Glynn P.E. Villanova University

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Mark Edward Graham Villanova University

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Dr. Mark Graham is an associate professor of Theological Ethics and the director of the Undergraduate Program for the Theology and Religious Studies Department at Villanova University.

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Mark Doorley Ph.D. Villanova University

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Dr. Mark Doorley is the director of the Ethics Program in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Villanova University. Dr. Doorley earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston College in 1994. He began teaching at Villanova University in 1996, becoming director of the Ethics Program in 2005. He has worked with faculty in the College of Engineering on an ethics-across-the-curriculum initiative since 2007. With a member of the Engineering faculty he has co-taught a course for Civil Engineers entitled "Engineering in a Humanistic Context" for several semesters. He has also taught a continuing education session on ethics for the local chapter of the American Society for Mechanical Engineering.

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Abstract

Engineering Ethics Survey for Faculty: An Assessment ToolThe College of Engineering at XXXXXXXX is committed to an Ethics Across the Curriculumcomponent in all of its undergraduate programs. During the fall of 2011 the Collegeadministered a Faculty Survey on Professional Ethics to all the full-time members of the Collegefaculty. The survey was designed to assess the faculty’s backgrounds in engineering ethics aswell as their willingness to participate in the ethics initiative. The survey was developed by an adhoc Ethics Committee that included representatives from the College of Engineering as well asmembers of the Ethics Program and the Philosophy Department. The Committee worked withprofessionals from XXXXX’s University Research Office to ensure the credibility of the surveyand to preserve the anonymity of the respondents.The need for a survey became apparent after the College began to implement an Ethics Acrossthe Curriculum approach in May 2009 with a two-day Engineering Ethics Workshop. Theoriginal plan envisioned similar workshops every two years as additional faculty committed toEthics Across the Curriculum. However, the initial workshop raised some fundamentalquestions regarding the faculty’s perceptions of engineering ethics and why/how ethics should beincluded in technical courses. These issues had to be addressed in the planning process for thesecond workshop.As stated in the Dean of Engineering’s cover letter to the College faculty, the purpose of thesurvey was: • To gauge the current level of faculty understanding of ethics principles; • To discover what faculty might already be doing in classes regarding ethics; • To identify methods for improving the engineering ethics program.The survey also had a more subtle purpose: to convince the faculty that many critical cases inengineering ethics do not have obvious answers. The survey included six case histories andasked: “Is there an ethical dimension to this case?”The survey was sent electronically to all full time faculty members in the College of Engineeringin September 2011. The responses were submitted directly to the University Research Officewhich tracked the participants and sent additional notices as necessary. The final response ratewas 55%. The University Research Office compiled the results and forwarded its report to theEthics Committee in October. The Committee, in turn, used the information in the report to re-craft the College’s second Engineering Ethics Workshop which was held in January 2012.The Committee cannot publish the detailed results of the survey because of confidentialityconcerns; however, it can share its impressions regarding the value and relevance of the FacultySurvey on Professional Ethics. This paper summarizes those impressions. The paper alsodiscusses the logistics of developing and administering the survey. Other institutions may wantto use this survey or a similar instrument to establish a base line regarding their faculty’sfamiliarity with ethics principles and the degree to which the faculty address ethical issues intheir classes.

Falcone, F. E., & Glynn, E. F., & Graham, M. E., & Doorley, M. (2013, June), Engineering Ethics Survey for Faculty: An Assessment Tool Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19522

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