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Institutional Variations in Ethics and Societal Impacts Education: Practices and Sufficiency Perceptions Among Engineering Educators

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32972

Download Count

3

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Paper Authors

biography

Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE). She has served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the CEAE Department, as well as the ABET assessment coordinator. Professor Bielefeldt was also the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where interdisciplinary students learn about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is also a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

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biography

Madeline Polmear University of Colorado, Boulder

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Madeline Polmear is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research interests include ethics education and the societal impacts of engineering and technology.

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Nathan E. Canney CYS Structural Engineers Inc.

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Dr. Canney conducts research focused on engineering education, specifically the development of social responsibility in engineering students. Other areas of interest include ethics, service learning, and sustainability education. Dr. Canney received bachelors degrees in Civil Engineering and Mathematics from Seattle University, a masters in Civil Engineering from Stanford University with an emphasis on structural engineering, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-8938

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Chris Swan is Dean of Undergraduate Education for the School of Engineering and an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Tufts University. He has additional appointments in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts. His current engineering education research interests focus on community engagement, service-based projects and examining whether an entrepreneurial mindset can be used to further engineering education innovations. He also does research on the development of reuse strategies for waste materials.

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Daniel Knight University of Colorado, Boulder

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Daniel W. Knight is the Program Assessment and Research Associate at Design Center (DC) Colorado in CU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Science. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Louisiana State University, an M.S. degree in industrial/organizational psychology and a Ph.D. degree in education, both from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Knight’s research interests are in the areas of K-12, program evaluation and teamwork practices in engineering education. His current duties include assessment, team development, outreach and education research for DC Colorado's hands-on initiatives.

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Abstract

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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