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Microethics and Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists and Engineers: Developing and Assessing Instructional Models

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Professional Issues in Ethics Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.934.1 - 25.934.16



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Paper Authors


Heather E. Canary University of Utah

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Heather E. Canary (Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2007) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. Her work appears in The International Encyclopedia of Communication and Communication and Organizational Knowledge: Contemporary Issues for Theory and Practice. She has published articles in the American Journal of Public Health, Communication Education, Health Communication, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, the Journal of Business Ethics, and Management Communication Quarterly, among other scholarly journals. Canary is Co-principal Investigator for two inter-disciplinary projects of graduate ethics education, funded by the National Science Foundation. Her other research foci include organizational and family communication, particularly as those processes co-influence each other in contexts of disability, health, and public policies.

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Joseph R. Herkert Arizona State University

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Joseph R. Herkert, D.Sc., P.E., is Lincoln Associate Professor of ethics and technology in the School of Letters and Sciences and the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University. He has taught engineering ethics and related courses for nearly 25 years. His work on engineering ethics has appeared in engineering, law, social science, and applied ethics journals. Herkert is the Past Editor of IEEE Technology & Society and a founding Associate Editor of Engineering Studies. He is the current Chair of the ASEE Liberal Education/Engineering and Society Division and a Distinguished Life Member of the Executive Board of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics.

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Karin Ellison Arizona State University

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Jameson M. Wetmore Arizona State University

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Microethics and Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists and Engineers: Developing and Assessing Instructional ModelsWhile the government and the public look to universities to educate students in research ethics,those who teach ethics to science and engineering graduate students still struggle to find the mosteffective models for ensuring that their students internalize professional values and make thempart of their scientific and technical practices. This paper will report on a three year researchproject to develop and assess four different instructional models that introduce and educatescience and engineering graduate students to the micro- and macroethical issues in their work.Efforts at integrating micro- and macroethics in graduate education of engineers and scientistshave been few. To be effective such efforts require incorporation of interdisciplinary conceptsand methods drawn from such fields as science and technology studies and applied ethics. Thefour models included in the project are: 1) a standalone course on societal implications of scienceand engineering; 2) micro- and macroethics material embedded in a required science course; 3) ahybrid online/face-to-face course on responsible conduct of research; and 4) engaging ethics inthe lab. In the paper we discuss development of the course models and assessment results.Assessment included comparisons of gains in knowledge of relevant standards, ethicalsensitivity, and ethical reasoning between the various instructional models as well as with acontrol group of students who did not participate in any of the instructional models. Measureswere also taken of classroom dynamics to identify any instructor effects on outcomes and toidentify associations between classroom communication processes and ethics instructionoutcomes. Results are discussed in terms of best practices that may be incorporated into variousprogram and course types.

Canary, H. E., & Herkert, J. R., & Ellison, K., & Wetmore, J. M. (2012, June), Microethics and Macroethics in Graduate Education for Scientists and Engineers: Developing and Assessing Instructional Models Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21691

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