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Implementing The Required Ethics Component In Engineering Classrooms

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Papers Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.698.1 - 9.698.8



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Paper Authors

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June Marshall

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John Marshall

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

Session 2140

Implementing the Required Ethics Component in Engineering Classrooms

Dr. June Marshall, Dr. John Marshall St. Joseph’s College/ University of Southern Maine


This document focuses on how ethics education, more globally referred to as character education, is being implemented into an undergraduate college program. Very successful techniques are discussed that have been proven useful in providing instruction to future professionals in national character education curriculums involving morals, values and ethics. Suggestions for integrating character education into the engineering ethics requirement are highlighted.

Engineering programs across the nation are investigating techniques to implement the ABET accreditation requirements (Engineering Criteria 2000) regarding ethics instruction for engineers. According to Criterion 3 of ABET’s Engineering Criteria 2000, “engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have . . . an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility” (Engineering, 1997).

Many practitioners agree with the concept identified by Whitbeck’s (2004, Undergraduate Education in Practical Ethics) that “rather than simply studying a code, a more engaging active learning approach” is needed. This new emphasis in ethics education is not limited to the engineering profession alone. In fact, this is a component of a much more global movement entitled Character Education. Character Education’s roots lie in behavioral ethics, and can be viewed as an understanding of desirable and undesirable actions based on a society’s perceptions and norms.

Sample topics that should be considered for an engineering ethics curriculum includes appropriate behavior (Whitbeck, 2004) related to: recruitment; employment; termination; guidelines for raising ethical concerns; commission payment under a marketing agreement; gifts to foreign officials; and writing a letter of recommendation. Discussions on these types of topics will allow each student to consider appropriate actions and desirable professional behavior. Once an individual understands and perceives society’s distinctions between positive and negative actions, character education then enables the individual to internalize these values. As a result, the individual develops a personal code of professional conduct, which then guides their daily interactions.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Marshall, J., & Marshall, J. (2004, June), Implementing The Required Ethics Component In Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13559

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: © 2004 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