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Student Ethics in Engineering: A Comparison of Ethics Survey Results from Undergraduate Engineering Students at Three Different Engineering Programs and Institutions

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

22

Page Numbers

23.1097.1 - 23.1097.22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22482

Download Count

20

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Paper Authors

author page

Jessica A Kuczenski College of San Mateo / San Francisco State University

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Abstract

Student Ethics in Engineering: A Comparison of Ethics Survey Results from Undergraduate Engineering Students at Three Different Engineering Programs and InstitutionsThe objective for this study is to compare the attitudes and practices regarding ethics ofundergraduate engineering students from three different institutions against those reflected bynational surveys. Overall, the data taken will enable the engineering departments to bettereducate its students regarding ethics in undergraduate study, with potential implications forstudent’s futures in industry and research endeavors.Motivation for this study comes from national surveys such as the one conducted in 2004-2005by the Center for Academic Integrity which found that 30% of college students have admitted to“getting [test] questions or answers from someone who has [already] taken the test”, while 44%admit to “working on an assignment with others when the instructor asked for individual work.”Another survey by the Psychological Record states that 36% of undergraduates have admitted toplagiarizing written material. These and other statistics regarding undergraduate behavior arealarming!For this study, we have written and delivered a survey to undergraduate engineering students atthree different institutions regarding their perception of ethics at school and in the work placealong with specific ethical behavior during their college careers. The survey was conductedanonymously and only the time stamp information was collected; thus, the survey data is onlyavailable en masse. The three institutions surveyed were the University of Notre Dame(specifically the chemical engineering department), a four-year accredited engineering program,Century College, a community and technical college which offers a two-year Associate ofScience degree in engineering, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (again the chemicalengineering department), a four-year engineering-only accredited program. Students from arange of engineering courses were surveyed; primarily focused on the first year Introduction toEngineering and Freshman Design courses, but also briefly investigated higher level coursessuch as Process Controls.From this study, the largest differences noted between the three institutions’ survey results willbe discussed and compared against similar questions from national surveys. Preliminary resultsindicate that students have the most disparate opinions about the workplace, likely separated bythe amount of experience they have in the workplace. Additionally, it seems the most unethicalbehavior for all students is in the areas of plagiarism where students have either turned in workthat was either partially or completely not their own.

Kuczenski, J. A. (2013, June), Student Ethics in Engineering: A Comparison of Ethics Survey Results from Undergraduate Engineering Students at Three Different Engineering Programs and Institutions Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22482

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