Asee peer logo

How Role-Playing Builds Empathy and Concern for Social Justice

Download Paper |

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

Interactive Approaches to Ethics

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28448

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28448

Download Count

708

Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Leslie Dodson Worcester Polytechnic Institute

biography

David DiBiasio Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

David DiBiasio is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Department Head of ChE at WPI. He received his ChE degrees from Purdue University, worked for the DuPont Co, and has been at WPI since 1980. His current interests are in educational research: the process of student learning, international engineering education, and educational assessment. Collaboration with two colleagues resulted in being awarded the 2001 William Corcoran Award from Chemical Engineering Education. He served as 2004 chair of the ASEE ChE Division, has served as an ABET program evaluator and on the AIChE/ABET Education & Accreditation Committee. He has also served as Assessment Coordinator in WPI’s Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and as Director of WPI’s Washington DC Project Center. He was secretary/treasurer of the new Education Division of AIChE. In 2009 he was awarded the rank of Fellow in the ASEE, and in 2013 was awarded the rank of Fellow in AIChE.

visit author page

biography

Paula Quinn Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Through her role as Associate Director for the Center for Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Paula Quinn works to improve student learning in higher education by supporting faculty and staff at WPI and at other institutions to advance work on project-based learning. She believes project-based learning holds significant potential for increasing the diversity of students who succeed in college and who persist in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and she views her work with the Center as contributing to education reform from the inside out. She holds an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Clark University and a B.A. in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her background includes working in the field of education evaluation, where she focused primarily on the areas of project-based learning; STEM; pre-literacy and literacy; student life; learning communities; and professional development. She has worked on projects whose funding sources have included the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education.

visit author page

biography

John Bergendahl Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

John Bergendahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has six years experience as a practicing engineer in industry, and holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, an M.S. in environmental engineering, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering; all from the University of Connecticut. His recent research efforts are primarily directed at investigating novel treatment methods for emerging contaminants, and the development of systems and methods to sustainably treat water and wastewater.

visit author page

biography

Kristin Boudreau Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Kristin Boudreau is Paris Fletcher Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she also serves as Head of the Department of Humanities and Arts. Her training is in nineteenth-century literature, but for the past 8 years she has taught engineering ethics, first-year engineering courses, and humanities for engineers. She has also worked with students and colleagues to develop role-playing games teaching engineering within its complex humanistic context.

NOTE: this paper has co-authors.

visit author page

biography

Glenn Gaudette Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Glenn R. Gaudette, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His research, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, aims to develop a treatment for the millions of Americans suffering from myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular diseases. In May of 2012, he co-founded a company based on some of the pioneering technology developed in his laboratory. Prof. Gaudette also teaches biomedical engineering design and innovation, biomechanics and physiology. He promotes the development of the entrepreneurial mindset in his students through support provided by the Kern Family Foundation.

visit author page

biography

John M. Sullivan Jr Worcester Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Professor John Sullivan joined WPI in 1987. He has had continuous external research funding from 1988 thru 2013. He has graduated (and supported) more than 75 MS and PhD graduate students. He has served as the ME Department Head and in 2012 was elected Secretary of the Faculty through 2015. Prof. Sullivan has always maintained a full teaching load. He strongly supports the WPI project-based undergraduate philosophy.

visit author page

author page

Curtis Abel Worcester Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4061-5467

Download Paper |

Abstract

How Role-Playing Builds Empathy and Concern for Social Justice Ethics Division

This paper describes an experimental first-year course designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from engineering, humanities, social science, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Our course, “Humanitarian Engineering Past & Present: Worcester, 1885,” puts students in the roles of actual people living in a turn-of-the-century industrial city in central Massachusetts. While immersing themselves in the roles of engineers, industrialists, elected officials, workers, scientists, public health officials, inventors, and city residents, students learn and practice engineering concepts (engineering design, stakeholder analysis, mass balance, sewage treatment, material properties and selection, sewage properties and conveyance, statics and stress, filtration and chemical precipitation, and so on). These engineering concepts, though, are not abstracted from social, political, and economic considerations. Rather, engineering is imbued with social context. Looking forward to its third iteration, this course offers students opportunities to reflect on social justice and ethical issues while developing the qualities of compassion and empathy. This paper discusses our classroom activities and the ethical learning outcomes they produce.

Dodson, L., & DiBiasio, D., & Quinn, P., & Bergendahl, J., & Boudreau, K., & Gaudette, G., & Sullivan, J. M., & Abel, C. (2017, June), How Role-Playing Builds Empathy and Concern for Social Justice Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28448

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