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Ethics has long been recognized as crucial to responsible engineering, but the increasingly global environments of contemporary engineering present challenges to effective engineering ethics training. Engineering is now more cross-cultural and international than ever before, resulting in potential disagreements about (in)appropriate courses of action. With the support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2) program, a collaboration of investigators from Colorado School of Mines, University of Pittsburgh, Delft University of Technology, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are exploring the effects of culture and education on ethical reasoning and moral intuitions among engineering students. This project will identify educational interventions with the greatest effects on ethical reasoning and moral intuitions, whether these effects differ among cultural and national groups, and if/how to modify these to develop more effective ethics training.
This paper offers an overview of the progress to date of this five-year mixed-method, quasi-experimental, longitudinal, cross-sectional research grant that aims to: (1) determine the effects of culture and foreign language on the ethical perspectives of first-year engineering students; (2) assess the relative effects of culture and education on these perspectives over four years; (3) use engineering ethics assessment tools across cultures and countries to examine their cross-cultural validity. Findings from this project will contribute to the development of engineering ethics that (1) effectively addresses the kinds of global challenges students, practitioners, programs, and organizations will encounter (2) is more inclusive, by identifying potentially marginalized perspectives (3) contributes to responsible graduate research, delivering training culturally responsive to the increasingly international student bodies of graduate STEM programs.
Zhu, Q., & Clancy, R., & Gammon, A., & Thorpe, R. (2022, August), Responsible Engineering Across Cultures: Investigating the Effects of Culture and Education on Ethical Reasoning and Dispositions of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42036
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