Asee peer logo

Institutional Obstacles To Integrating Ethics Into The Curriculum And Strategies For Overcoming Them

Download Paper |

Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Integrating Engineering Ethics into the Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

15.749.1 - 15.749.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16571

Download Count

10

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Kelley Walczak University of Michigan

visit author page

Kelley Walczak is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include student development, campus culture, learning styles, and qualitative methodology. She is currently a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, American Educational Research Association, and ACPA-College Student Educators International.

visit author page

biography

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

visit author page

Cynthia Finelli, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Research and Learning North at U-M. She actively pursues research in engineering education and assists other faculty in their scholarly projects. She also is past Chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of American Society of Engineering Education and guest co-editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Engineering Education on applications of engineering education research.

visit author page

biography

Matthew Holsapple University of Michigan

visit author page

Matthew A. Holsapple is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the impact of educational experiences on student moral development and personal and social responsibility, professional ethics education, college student outcomes assessment, and quasi-experimental research design in higher education. He is currently a member of the American Education Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

visit author page

biography

Janel Sutkus Carnegie Mellon University

visit author page

Janel A. Sutkus, Ph.D., is Director of Institutional Research and Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, where she is responsible for analysis and assessment of all administrative and academic functions. Her work focuses on student engagement, enrollment prediction, modeling responses to institutional financial aid, and developing an integrated model of student persistence within Carnegie Mellon's six undergraduate colleges. She is currently a member of ASEE, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

visit author page

biography

Trevor Harding California Polytechnic State University

visit author page

Trevor Harding, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Materials Engineering at California Poly, where he teaches courses in engineering design from a materials perspective. His research focuses on educational outcomes associated with service learning and project-based learning with a particular emphasis on ethics education. He is also PI on several projects investigating the degradation of biomedical materials in physiological environments. Dr. Harding is Associate Editor of the journal Advances in Engineering Education, chair of the Materials Division of ASEE, and program chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE.

visit author page

biography

Donald Carpenter Lawrence Technological University

visit author page

Donald Carpenter, Ph.D., P.E., LEED AP is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. He is actively involved in ASEE, is a Kern Fellow for Entrepreneurial Education, and serves as Director of Assessment for Lawrence Tech. His research interests involve academic integrity, assessment of student learning, and water resources.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Institutional Obstacles to Integrating Ethics into the Curriculum and Strategies for Overcoming Them

Abstract Several national reports emphasize the importance of providing undergraduate engineering students with effective ethics education, and most engineering faculty and administrators agree that ethics is an important aspect of engineering undergraduate education. However, there are many obstacles to integrating ethics into the curriculum. This study investigated these obstacles at 18 diverse institutions and found five common themes: 1) the curriculum is already full, and there is little room for ethics education, 2) faculty lack adequate training for teaching ethics 3) there are too few incentives to incorporate ethics into the curriculum, 4) policies about academic dishonesty are inconsistent, and 5) institutional growth is taxing existing resources. This study concludes with recommendations for overcoming these obstacles.

Introduction Recent, high profile cases such as the interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis, levee failures in New Orleans, and steering and braking failures in Toyota automobiles have elevated ethics in engineering to national and international attention. These cases stress the significance of ethical responsibility in the engineering profession and emphasize the need to educate engineering students about their professional and ethical obligations.

Several national reports emphasize the importance of providing undergraduate engineering students with effective ethics education. Reports from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) conclude engineers need to be trained to recognize their professional responsibilities and the ethical implications of their work12,13. In addition, most engineering faculty and administrators agree that ethics is an important aspect of engineering undergraduate education. In fact, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) includes ethical and professional responsibility as one of its program objectives for accreditation of engineering programs5, and the professional codes for most national engineering societies include tenets related to ethical responsibility as well1,14.

Despite the compelling evidence and accreditation requirements to include ethics in engineering education, many engineering programs struggle to incorporate ethics into the curriculum. These difficulties stem from both institutional and personal contexts, but all have an impact on the ethics curriculum and education of engineering undergraduates. Because of the importance of developing ethical engineers, it is critical to identify these obstacles so they can be addressed by engineering programs. This study investigates these obstacles and suggests ways to overcome them.

Literature Review The importance of developing ethical engineers highlights the need to integrate ethics into engineering education. Harris, Davis, Pritchard, and Rabins7 identify nine purposes of engineering education which Newberry15 classifies into three categories: particular knowledge, intellectual engagement, and emotional engagement. Newberry argues that particular knowledge,

Walczak, K., & Finelli, C., & Holsapple, M., & Sutkus, J., & Harding, T., & Carpenter, D. (2010, June), Institutional Obstacles To Integrating Ethics Into The Curriculum And Strategies For Overcoming Them Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16571

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: © 2010 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