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Ethically Informed Intellectuals or Responsible Professionals? A Comparative Study of Engineering Ethics Education in China and the United States

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engaging Ethics, Internationally

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

12

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28297

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/28297

Download Count

560

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Paper Authors

biography

Xiaofeng Tang Pennsylvania State University, University Park Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6279-9941

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Xiaofeng Tang is a postdoctoral fellow in engineering ethics at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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biography

Wei Zhang Zhejiang University

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2015-Present Professor, Institute of China's Science,Technology and Education Strategy, Zhejiang University
Associate director of Research Center on Science and Education Development Strategy, Zhejiang University
2012-2014 Professor, School of management, Hangzhou Dianzi University
Dean of Organization Management, School of management, Hangzhou Dianzi University
2008-2012 Director of Teaching & Research Division, School of management, Hangzhou Dianzi University
2007-2012 Associate Professor, School of management, Hangzhou Dianzi University
2005-2007 Assistant Professor, School of management, Hangzhou Dianzi University

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biography

Shuxin Yang Chinese society for engineer education(CSEE)

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Shuxin Yang

Official Assistant, Secretariat of Chinese society for engineer education(CSEE)
Research Assistant, Institute of China's Science,Technology and Education Policy,Zhejiang University
E-mail Address: sendemails@163.com
mobile:86-18667027030

Education

M.A., Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan ,Hubei,China, 2016
B.A., Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan ,Hubei,China, 2009

Work Experience

2009-2013 ,Application Engineer,McQuay Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (Wuhan) Co., Ltd.

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Abstract

This paper compares the historical trajectories, objectives, and practices of engineering ethics education in China and the United States. A comparative study like this contributes in several ways to the education of ethical and culturally sensitive engineers in both countries. First, as engineers increasingly work together in international teams and deploy projects outside their home countries, knowledge about the ethical principles emphasized in other cultures will help educators prepare students to understand and to practice engineering in ways that respect local values and ethical standards. Second, as engineering programs—especially those in the U.S.—attract a great number of students from abroad, understanding the international students’ ethics training in their home countries will help engineering educators anticipate and accommodate their learning needs. Third, a comparison of the theories, practices, and challenges of ethics teaching in two of the world’s leading countries in engineering education will serve as a starting point for a transnational conversation about the opportunities, strategies, and best practices for educating ethically committed global engineers.

We start our analysis by reviewing the historical evolution of engineering ethics education in China and the U.S. Following that, we examine major theoretical debates that illustrate the core questions, concepts, and approaches that attract Chinese and American engineering ethicists’ attention. Next we compare some exemplar curricular and instructional strategies adopted by educators in each country to facilitate engineering students’ ethics learning.

Findings of this comparative study suggest that engineering ethics education in China and the U.S. reflect distinct characters that result from different political, intellectual, and professional influences on engineering education. In particular, engineering ethics education in China has demonstrated a stronger emphasis on theoretical knowledge, whereas ethics teaching in the U.S. tends to focus on cultivating ethical decisions in professional engineering. We suggest that the differing emphases result partly from Chinese scholars’ attempt to establish engineering ethics as an academic discipline, and, compared with the case in the U.S., a relatively weak professional identity for engineering in China.

We conclude this paper by summarizing several lessons engineering ethics educators in both countries might learn from each other. We also suggest a few questions for future research that will help elucidate the respective intellectual and professional impacts on engineers’ ethics education in China and the U.S.

Tang, X., & Zhang, W., & Yang, S. (2017, June), Ethically Informed Intellectuals or Responsible Professionals? A Comparative Study of Engineering Ethics Education in China and the United States Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28297

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015