Asee peer logo

Integration Of First Year English With Introduction To Engineering Design With An Emphasis On Questions Of Ethics

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.628.1 - 6.628.8

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Jeanne Garland

author page

Christine Helfers

author page

Ronald Roedel

author page

Sarah Duerden

Download Paper |

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

session 2661@ Division 61 Liberal Education

Integration of First-Year English with Introduction to Engineering Design with an Emphasis on Questions of Ethics Jeanne Garland, Sarah Duerden, Christine Helfers, & Ronald Roedel Department of English/Department of Electrical Engineering Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287


Fundamental to engineering education, and mandated by ABET is that students engage with questions of ethics. Too often, however, this does not occur until late in the student’s career. In the Foundation Coalition Freshman Integrated Program in Engineering at Arizona State University, we believe that concern for ethics must be integrated vertically into the curriculum beginning in the first year of the student’s career. This can be successfully achieved if freshman English and engineering design are integrated, as we have been able to do. We introduce our students in their first semester to the ancient rhetors’ concept of values and use that to explore specific engineering codes of ethics and decision-making tools employed in engineering. This foundation then allows students to critically analyze case histories and discover for themselves that ethical considerations are and must be part of the decision-making processes they employ, even when the tools they use cut out such considerations. This foundation allows us to then explore ethical considerations vertically throughout their careers as engineering students. Therefore, we urge educators to consider the possibility of developing integrated courses that allow students to connect the intellectual rhetorics of inquiry developed in freshman English classes with their engineering classes so that students can truly appreciate and comprehend the importance of ethics in their future professional lives.


In the past several years, ethical concerns have become a central focus of the public and news media, creating a new awareness of the ethical implications of decisions we make in our professional and private lives. This awareness, in part, is due to the serious consequences of some decisions that have led to loss of life, not to mention loss of credibility. The public has witnessed disasters such as Chernobyl, Bhopal, the Challenger, and the more recent Firestone/Ford catastrophe. The profession has responded with training in ethics in as well as guidelines or codes of ethical conduct in many professions, such as the National Professional Society of Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics.

The recent mandate by ABET to make ethics fundamental in engineering education points to the understanding of educators that, inevitably, students will one day face ethical dilemmas as professional engineers. Engineering students must engage with questions of ethics early in their education so that ethical concepts become part their thinking and development. In the

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001 American Society for Engineering Education

Garland, J., & Helfers, C., & Roedel, R., & Duerden, S. (2001, June), Integration Of First Year English With Introduction To Engineering Design With An Emphasis On Questions Of Ethics Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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: © 2001 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