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Learning about Ethics in a Multidisciplinary Context

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Teaching Approaches for Ethics

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

24.848.1 - 24.848.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/20739

Download Count

46

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Paper Authors

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Richard Raridon Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Richard Raridon is a graduate student currently pursuing his M.S. degree in Experiential Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In addition to working as the graduate assistant for the MAX Scholars program, he is also a graduate assistant for the department of Educational Leadership and teaches Introduction to Experiential Education. He received his B.S. degree in Psychology and Mass Communication from Black Hills State University in 2007.

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Rebecca A. Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rebecca A. Bates received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 2004. She also received the M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1993. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Integrated Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, home of the Iron Range and Twin Cities Engineering programs.

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Deborah K. Nykanen P.E. Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Deborah K. Nykanen is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She received her Ph.D. degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Her teaching, research and professional experience focus on water resources, hydrology and hydrometeorology. Dr. Nykanen has 13 years of academic experience and is a registered P.E. in Minnesota.

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Marilyn C. Hart Minnesota State University- Mankato

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Dr. Hart received her doctorate in Cellular and Molecular biology from St. Louis University School of Medicine. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at Minnesota State Univesity- Mankato in 2001. Dr. Hart is currently a Professor of Biology, the Director of the Undergraduate Research Center, and co-director for the National Science Foundation-funded Interdisciplinary Mentored Academic Experience for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Success.

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Winston Sealy Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Winston Sealy is an Assistant Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Technology Management - manufacturing systems at Indiana State University. His primary areas of interest and research are additive manufacturing as an emerging technology, Finite Element Analysis for design optimization and advanced parametric modeling. In addition, Prof. Sealy also teaches metrology and automation courses. His degrees are in electronic engineering technology (B.S., Minnesota State University, Mankato), and technology management - systems engineering (M.S., University of St. Thomas).

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Abstract

Learning about Ethics in an Interdisciplinary ContextAbstractIn conjunction with a National Science Foundation-sponsored scholarship program, we have aninterdisciplinary peer mentoring support system for STEM students that addresses keyprofessional development areas, including ethics. The students receive financial support and anopportunity to develop academic, professional and life skills through a weekly scholars seminar.The seminars familiarize scholars with various university support services, allow participation ininterdisciplinary discussions addressing broad academic and career issues, and buildrelationships with other scholars from diverse STEM disciplines. The seminar coursework iscentered around semester-long investigative projects designed and completed by teams, typicallyinterdisciplinary ones. A small group of math, science and engineering faculty oversees theseminar and selection of scholars.Our approach is to provide faculty mentoring while developing stepping-stone peer-mentoringfor professional development. This structure supports students and helps them developleadership qualities. The recipients, as defined by the program criteria, are diverse: multiplemajors, male, female, nontraditional students, students with different ethnicities, religiousaffiliations, backgrounds, and family structure. By including all eligible STEM majors at ouruniversity, we have been able to increase the number of women recipients, which creates a senseof critical mass to support the women in engineering.Our program has demonstrated past successes in addressing issues important to the field andaccreditation boards such as functioning on multi-disciplinary teams; understanding ethicalresponsibilities; developing a sense of the global and societal context of STEM work; andsupporting the idea of life-long learning. Our recent focus has been on incorporating ethicalstudies through the semester-long interdisciplinary projects.After a brief overview of the interdisciplinary scholarship cohort and associated seminar course,this paper will focus on description and assessment of the team projects from two consecutivesemester that were geared toward improving student understanding of ethical responsibilities.The first semester (spring 2013) focused on ethics in a disciplinary context and included apresentation from a philosophy professor about ethical frameworks. Discipline-based teamsdiscussed and critiqued ethical case studies and wrote reflections. The interdisciplinary contextwas examined through 1) class-wide discussions and 2) interdisciplinary, small groupdiscussions where students presented their discipline-based case to students in other STEMdisciplines. The second semester (fall 2013) used interdisciplinary projects to explore the broadtopic of “garbage”. This is a topic important to society that STEM students, especiallyengineers, will need to be able to address with ethical responsibility at the forefront of theirdesigns. Students were asked to address ethical issues related to their chosen garbage topic.Quantitative and qualitative assessment of student experiences and ethical awareness will bepresented in this paper. Reflections of the process by faculty mentors will also be included.

Raridon, R., & Bates, R. A., & Nykanen, D. K., & Hart, M. C., & Sealy, W. (2014, June), Learning about Ethics in a Multidisciplinary Context Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20739

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: © 2014 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