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Impact of Different Curricular Approaches to Ethics Education on Ethical Reasoning Ability

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Understanding Our Students

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

22.799.1 - 22.799.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18080

Download Count

8

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Paper Authors

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Robert M. Bielby University of Michigan

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Robert Bielby is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education focusing in higher education policy and quantitative methodology.

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Trevor Scott Harding California Polytechnic State University

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Dr. Trevor S. Harding is Chair and Professor of Materials Engineering at California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo where he teaches courses in biomaterials, solidification metallurgy, tribology and life cycle design. Dr. Harding has published numerous manuscripts in the area of ethical development of engineering undergraduates through application of psycho-social models of moral expertise. He also conducts research in student motivation, service learning, and project-based learning. His technical research is focused on degradation of biomedical materials in vitro. He currently serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Advances in Engineering Education, is Chair of the ASEE Materials Division, and was ERM Vice-Chair for the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference. He recently received the 2008 President’s Service Learning Award for innovations in the use of service learning at Cal Poly. In 2004, he was named a Templeton Research Fellow by the Center for Academic Integrity, Duke University. Dr. Harding received both the 1999 Apprentice Faculty Grant and 2000 New Faculty Fellow Award for his contributions to engineering education.

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Donald D. Carpenter Lawrence Technological University

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Dr. Donald Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and the Director of Assessment at Lawrence Technological University. Prior to being Director of Assessment, Dr. Carpenter was the Founding Director for the Center of Teaching & Learning at Lawrence Tech where he was responsible for conducting faculty development programs. In addition, Dr. Carpenter actively conducts educational and pedagogical research on teamwork, leadership, and ethical development and is Kern Fellow for Entrepreneurial Education.

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Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) and research associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. In addition, she actively pursues research in engineering education and assists other faculty in their scholarly projects. She is past Chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE and guest co-editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Engineering Education on applications of engineering education research.

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Janel A. Sutkus Carnegie Mellon University

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Dr. Janel A. Sutkus is Director of Institutional Research and Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, where she is responsible for analysis and assessment of administrative and academic functions university-wide and within CMU’s colleges. She holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and management from the Center for the Study of Higher and Post-secondary Education at the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Iowa, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and music from Cornell College.

Prior to her work at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Sutkus was a college administrator and adjunct instructor for 15 years at two undergraduate liberal arts colleges. She also taught non-experimental educational research methods as a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan, and was a virtual writing instructor at Marygrove College, working with masters' students on quantitative and qualitative research papers for the departments of education and criminal justice. She is a member of the Association for Institutional Research, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Association of American Universities Data Exchange.

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Brian A. Burt University of Michigan

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Brian A. Burt is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. He serves as a research assistant at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering. His broad research interests include understanding the doctoral student experience.

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Eunjong Ra University of Michigan

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Eunjong Ra is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, she worked for the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology in Korea as a deputy director, where her responsibilities included lifelong learning, international cooperation, and performance management. Her research interests include student college choice, sociology of education, college finance, and the application of quasi-experimental methods to the study of these issues.

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Matthew Holsapple University of Michigan

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Matthew Holsapple is a doctoral candidate in Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, and he has spent the last three years researching engineering ethics education. His research interests include moral development and character education in college students, professional ethics education, and research design and quasi-experimental methods in college student outcomes research.

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Abstract

Impact of Different Curricular Approaches to Ethics Education on Development of Ethical Reasoning As engineers enter the modern workplace, they must not only be aware of the existingethical standards required to become a professional engineer, but they must also be prepared toreason through ethical problems and act appropriately in their everyday work. However, recentresearch has shown that the curricular approaches typically used to develop these skills inengineering undergraduates – notably case studies and emphasis on ethical codes – have alimited impact on students’ ability to address ethical issues. Therefore, in this study we evaluatea number of different curricular approaches to ethics education (e.g. roleplaying activities,games, and films) that could be used to prepare students for ethical issues and assess theirimpacts on students’ development of ethical reasoning. Astin’s Input-Environment-Outcome (IEO) model views student outcomes (such asethical development) as the product of the interaction of inputs (such as student characteristicsand prior experiences) and environmental stimuli (such as curricular and cocurricularexperiences and institutional culture); in this study, we apply Astin’s IEO model to developmentof ethical reasoning. We use the undergraduate engineering curriculum as the “environment,”and study several other input factors as we address the following research questions: Do differentcurricular approaches to ethics education have differential impacts on undergraduate students’ethical reasoning ability? How do the impacts of these curricula differ for students acrossacademic class-years? We analyzed data collected as part of our Survey of Engineering Ethical Developmentconducted at 18 institutions across the U.S. These institutions were selected to provide a widerange of institution size, program concentration, and geographic region. Amongst other things,the survey included items assessing students’ demographics and background characteristics, theircurricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular experiences, and their level of ethical reasoning (asmeasured by the Defining Issues Test-2 (DIT-2)). Here we assess the differential impact of the curricular approaches to ethics educationacross students’ undergraduate experiences. Preliminary results indicate that some curricularapproaches are common at many of the institutions in our sample (e.g., presentation by aprofessor in an introductory engineering course), while others are more institution-specific.Further, students’ ethical reasoning ability varies both across institutions and within institutionsby class-year, possibly because of the different types of ethics education to which students havebeen exposed. In additional analysis for the final paper, we will apply indicator variables aspredictors (representing exposure to different curricular approaches), along with severalcovariates, to explain the differences in the development of ethical reasoning by class year. Thiswill allow us to identify curricular approaches to ethics education that have the greatest impacton students’ ethical reasoning ability at different points during their education.

Bielby, R. M., & Harding, T. S., & Carpenter, D. D., & Finelli, C. J., & Sutkus, J. A., & Burt, B. A., & Ra, E., & Holsapple, M. (2011, June), Impact of Different Curricular Approaches to Ethics Education on Ethical Reasoning Ability Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18080

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