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Ethics 101

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Non-Technical Skills for ET Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.588.1 - 10.588.7



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Paper Authors

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Marilyn Dyrud

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

Ethics 101 Marilyn A. Dyrud Oregon Institute of Technology


Ethics training, now somewhat formalized as ABET EAC criterion 3f and TAC criterion 2i, is by necessity becoming a more integral part of engineering and technology curricula, whether via stand-alone ethics courses or inclusion in technical courses and programs.

Instructors new to the field, however, may find themselves in a quandary as to course content and methodology; ethics is an enormous and ancient field of study, and tailoring philosophical content to fit a technical class poses a challenge. Pedagogy in philosophy, too, varies a great deal and tends to be more discussion-oriented than in engineering and technology.

This paper gives instructors new to ethics tips on content and pedagogy: what do students need to know about ethics in order to assist them in their careers, and how do instructors impart that information? Specifically, this paper examines definitions, codes of ethics, major issues in engineering ethics, and pedagogical techniques.

While ABET provides a pragmatic reason for including ethics in engineering and technical curricula, Michael Davis, who has widely published on the topic of applied ethics and is senior researcher at the Center for the Study of the Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology, suggests more compelling reasons:

• increased ethical sensitivity • increased knowledge of relevant standards of conduct • improved ethical judgment • improved ethical will power7

In short, the goal of including an ethics component in engineering and technology education is more than simply addressing ABET criteria: it is to make students aware of the pervasiveness of ethics in their chosen profession and expectations regarding their conduct as representatives of that profession.

Before embarking on ethics instructions, instructors themselves should develop a modicum of expertise in the field. Reading is, of course, essential, but instructors should also consider enrolling in an ethics workshop, such as the NSF-sponsored summer ethics across the curriculum seminars at Illinois Institute of Technology5 or the summer ethics program at the University of Montana’s Practical Ethics Center.24

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Dyrud, M. (2005, June), Ethics 101 Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14768

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