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Ethics Education For The Third Millennium

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Conference

1998 Annual Conference

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998

ISSN

2153-5965

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

3.264.1 - 3.264.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/7105

Download Count

160

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Paper Authors

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Marilyn Dyrud

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

Session 1347

Ethics Education for the Third Millennium

Marilyn A. Dyrud Oregon Institute of Technology

Abstract

A variety of technological disasters in the 1980s, including Challenger, Bhopal, and Chernobyl, has prompted a renewed interest in teaching engineering ethics at the college level. This paper offers a discussion of need, subject matter, methodology, and resources to enable technical instructors to integrate ethical issues into their courses without sacrificing technical content.

Introduction

Higher education in America, notes Steven McNeel, “was originally a whole-person education with emphases. . .[on] four components of morality: moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation, and moral character.” 6 But as knowledge became specialized and fragmented, due to technological development, the practice of teaching morality as the primary focus of education waned.

The destruction of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, however, spawned a renewed interest in ethics education, particularly among the technical professions. Although other technological disasters, such as Bhopal, resulted in much higher loss of life, the large amount of publicity focused on Challenger brought to the forefront of public awareness a number of ethical issues previously unexplored in open forums: decision-making processes, management/technical staff confrontations, communication between organizational levels and between organizations, and basic engineering design. This paper explores ethics education for technical students, including need, appropriate subject matter, methodology, and resources.

Need

Competency in technical matters is, of course, essential for our engineering and technology graduates. Of increasing importance, however, are the “soft” skills, which include areas such as communications, interpersonal relations, and the social sciences. Indeed, some maintain that a firm grounding in these skills is as important in the workplace as technical facility. Former ASEE President Eleanor Baum, for example, has noted, “The area in which industry would like to see improvement is in the so-called soft skills. . .communication skills, team work, economic understanding, societal context, and global awareness.” The “ultimate benefit,” she explains, will be “engineers who will better satisfy the needs of the workplace and whose best humanitarian instincts will prevail.” 1

Boeing corporate manager of college and university relations, Al Hametner, similarly stated

Dyrud, M. (1998, June), Ethics Education For The Third Millennium Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/7105

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