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Reclassifying Teaching Methods Based on a Comparison of Student and Faculty Experiences of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Classroom

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Socially Responsible Engineering II: Pedagogy, Teamwork, and Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Larkin Martini Colorado School of Mines

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Larkin Martini is a Masters student at the Colorado School of Mines studying Humanitarian Engineering and Science, with an undergraduate in Geologic Engineering from the same institution.

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Jordyn MacKenzie Helfrich Colorado School of Mines

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Jordyn Helfrich is an undergraduate student at Colorado School of Mines where she is studying Petroleum Engineering with a minor in Leadership in Social Responsibility.

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Though Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been identified as an important part of undergraduate and graduate curriculum for the Mining and Petroleum Departments by both industry and professors, there seems to be a difference between student identification of CSR content that could indicate a difference in teaching styles and possible effectiveness. We know very little about engineering professors’ experiences of teaching CSR to engineering students. Previous research has investigated how targeted and critical instruction in CSR has affected students’ knowledge and opinions about the connection between CSR and engineering, particularly related to how they conceptualize engineers’ responsibilities to stakeholders. Research also points to the importance of understanding how students themselves define social responsibility, as understandings can vary and differently influence their pathways through engineering [8]. Examining students’ and professors’ perceptions in the same analytic frame is crucial, because mismatches can exist between what professors think they are teaching and what students actually learn and experience. To fill these gaps, this paper uses data from semi-structured interviews with professors and undergraduate students, as well as a student survey. The data was collected from three departments at the Colorado School of Mines: Geological Engineering, Mining Engineering, and Petroleum Engineering. These departments were chosen because they have integrated instruction in CSR into core courses. Our interviews with professors identified: how they were integrating CSR themes into the courses that they teach; why they chose to integrate CSR themes into their curriculum; how this affected their teaching; and how their CSR teaching affected student interest and learning. Our interviews with students identified: their experiences with CSR themes in their coursework; good or bad examples of CSR in coursework; and potential influences of CSR themes on their opinions of industry and job aspirations. Students also gave their overall opinions regarding the integration of CSR themes into their coursework. By comparing the viewpoints of professors and students, we identify a new classification of teaching methods and how they are perceived by students in order to help engineering educators better prepare students to critically reflect on the social responsibility dimensions of their future careers

[8] Rulifson, G., & Bielefeldt, A. R. (2019). Evolution of Students’ Varied Conceptualizations About Socially Responsible Engineering: A Four Year Longitudinal Study. Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (939–974).

Martini, L., & Helfrich, J. M. (2021, July), Reclassifying Teaching Methods Based on a Comparison of Student and Faculty Experiences of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Classroom Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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