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Ethical Issues Confronting Students And Practitioners

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Practice/Industry Partnership

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.526.1 - 7.526.7



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Paper Authors

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Enno Koehn

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

Main Menu Session 2406


Enno “Ed” Koehn Lamar University


Engineering Ethics may be defined as the study of moral topics in engineering. In fact, according to some ethical philosophers, engineering may be conceived as a social experiment involving human subjects.

In general, engineering students with minimum work experience were found to rate, with three exceptions, the frequency and seriousness of ethical issues lower than students with engineer ing work experience, members of the Texas Registration Board and Engineering Deans Council, and practicing engineers. The three exceptions: improper political or community involvement, alcohol and drug abuse, and failure to protect the environment are in the frequency category. Among the twelve ethical problems studied, four issues: technical incompetence or misrepresentation of competence; failure to protect public health, safety, or welfare; alcohol or drug abuse; and poor quality of work, are considered serious by engineering personnel.

It has been claimed that ethics cannot be taught to college students or adults. However, there is evidence that formal/informal presentations are well received. In fact, numerous universities now offer courses in ethics and professionalism. Also, industry has found that clear standards of ethical conduct are required in its day-to-day operations.

I. Introduction

Engineering organizations, both academic and industrial, have long been interested in the application of professionalism and engineering ethics. Recently, however, these topics have received increasing attention and numerous conferences have been held, and articles and books have been written on the subject 12. In addition, universities have expanded their course offerings in the area3, 5. Industry has also established offices/departments that assist their employees with dealing with professional and ethical dilemmas before they become problem areas 4, 10 .

This paper presents a definition of engineering ethics and reviews guidelines that may be followed to promote ethics and professionalism in the work place. In addition, various resources available to assist faculty teaching courses involved with engineering ethics/professionalism are referenced. Also, the paper presents the results of a survey of engineering students concerning engineering ethics and professionalism and compares the findings with a previous study involving engineering practitioners.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Koehn, E. (2002, June), Ethical Issues Confronting Students And Practitioners Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11060

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