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Introducing Ethics Into The Natural Resources Engineering Curricula

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.403.1 - 5.403.12

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Ernest W. Tollner

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

Session 2608

Introducing Ethics into the Natural Resources Engineering Curricula

Ernest W. Tollner, Professor

Driftmier Engineering Center University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602

Ethics is the discipline concerned with the process for deciding what is "good behavior" and what is "bad behavior" in particular situations. In other words, what is one's moral obligation in particular instances? How do our values map into behavior in specific situations? Ethics provide written or spoken standards. The goal is not to define a "one size fits all" ethical position. Such does not exist. Each person needs to be able to raise a conscientious defense for positions taken when ethical questions are involved.

We hear constant reference to values and ethics, particularly when reading literature on Total Quality Management (TQM). Here we are mainly concerned with conservation values and ethics versus resource development values and ethics. Engineers have an interest in and can offer solutions toward both points of view. ABET and state licensing boards are becoming increasingly interested in ethics and associated assessment issues.

An ethics introduction is presented to stimulate understanding and compassion for widely diverse views. This introduction forms the core of a reading planned for students engaging in an ethics discussion lab. A case study involving the tension between conservation and development with a discussion guide is also presented with the goal of raising the consciousness of students of diverse ethical positions. The exercise would most likely work best with junior-senior level students of diverse backgrounds in small group settings.

I. Review of values and ethics1

1 This section was developed with the aid of Dr. Alireza Esteghlalian, Post Doctoral Associate, Biol.& Agr. Engr. Dept., Driftmier Engr. Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

Tollner, E. W. (2000, June), Introducing Ethics Into The Natural Resources Engineering Curricula Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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