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Integrating Ethics Education Into The Engineering Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Best Teaching Practices for ABET

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.734.1 - 8.734.6



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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 1675

Integrating Ethics Education into the Engineering Curriculum

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


Engineering programs across the nation are investigating techniques to implement the new 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).

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. Behavioral ethics can be viewed as an understanding of desirable and undesirable actions based on a society’s perceptions and norms. 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.

According to Pfatteicher’s article published in the Journal of Engineering Education (2001), “few engineering faculty object, in principle, to these changes, but many struggle with the practical question of just how to instill this understanding of ethics in their graduates.”

This article 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 proved useful in providing instruction to future professionals in the current research and teaching practices of a national character education curriculum involving morals, values and ethics.

Character Education programs have become an essential piece of many programs across the nation. However, a significant percentage of these programs report they are unsure of the specific methodology to utilize in adequately addressing character education components in their programs.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Marshall, J., & Marshall, J. (2003, June), Integrating Ethics Education Into The Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11776

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