June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
This research aims to increase our understanding of institutional variations on the education of undergraduate engineering/computing students about ethics and societal impacts (ESI). In alignment with Input-Environment-Output models and Lattuca and Stark’s Academic Plan Model, it was expected that differences in institutional cultures could manifest in the ESI educational perceptions and practices of faculty. About 1400 engineering educators responded to an online survey in spring 2016. From among the responses, there were 22 institutions represented by 9 to 24 respondents who spanned 5 or more disciplines at each institution. There were not significant differences in the percentage of institutionally-grouped respondents who taught the majority of ESI-related topics (e.g. safety, environmental protection). However, institutional differences were found for a few ESI-related topics such as social justice (0 to 63%) and poverty (0-46%). These differences appear to reflect differences in institutional culture. Differences in the curricular models for ESI education were also evident among the 22 institutions; e.g., faculty awareness of ESI education via first-year design-focused courses, professional issues courses, and/or full courses on ethics varied. The percentage of the faculty who believed that undergraduate students in their program received sufficient education on ethics ranged from 90% of the faculty at one institution versus only 14% at another. At the two high and low ‘outlier’ institutions for ethics sufficiency ratings, mission and vision statements, institution level outcomes, and course requirements for undergraduates were explored using institutional artifacts. The institution with lowest sufficiency ratings did appear to integrate ethics education into its objectives and teaching within engineering less than the two institutions where the greatest percentage of faculty viewed ethics education in engineering as sufficient. However, at another institution where a low percentage (20%) of the faculty viewed undergraduate ethics education as sufficient, the institutional mission and integration of ethics education for engineers appeared strong. Therefore, it appeared that many faculty at that institution held high standards for sufficient ethics education. The results point to the importance of future qualitative research to explore the extent to which faculty perceive the culture of their institution, college/school of engineering, and/or engineering department as supportive of ESI education for undergraduate students.
Bielefeldt, A. R., & Polmear, M., & Canney, N. E., & Swan, C., & Knight, D. (2019, June), Institutional Variations in Ethics and Societal Impacts Education: Practices and Sufficiency Perceptions Among Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32972
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