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Student Learning About Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Comparison Across Engineering and Liberal Arts Courses

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

30

DOI

10.18260/1-2--31007

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31007

Download Count

102

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Paper Authors

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Jessica Mary Smith Colorado School of Mines

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Jessica Smith is Co-Director of Humanitarian Engineering and Associate Professor at the Colorado School of Mines. As an anthropologist, her research interests focus around the mining and energy industries, with particular emphasis in corporate social responsibility, engineers, labor and gender. She is the author of Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation. She is currently investigating the intersections between engineering and CSR on the NSF grant “The Ethics of Extraction: Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility into Engineering Education.”

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Nicole M. Smith Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Smith is a Assistant Professor in Mining Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a cultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests in livelihoods and extractive industries, corporate social responsibility, indigenous peoples, artisanal and small-scale mining, and engineering education.

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Greg Rulifson P.E. Colorado School of Mines Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7691-2247

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Greg currently teaches in Humanitarian Engineering at Mines. Greg earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice from UC Berkeley where he acquired a passion for using engineering to facilitate developing communities’ capacity for success. He earned his master's degree in Structural Engineering and Risk Analysis from Stanford University. His PhD work at CU Boulder focused on how student's connections of social responsibility and engineering change throughout college as well as how engineering service is valued in employment and supported in the workplace.

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Carrie J. McClelland P.E. Colorado School of Mines

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Carrie J McClelland is a Teaching Associate Professor at Colorado School of Mines. She is a registered professional engineer with a passion for teaching the next generation of engineers to be well-rounded professionals who consider the broader impacts and effects of their work beyond the technical. Her current research interests include investigating pedagogical interventions in the classroom to build technical, professional, and lifelong learning skills.

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Linda A. Battalora Colorado School of Mines

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Linda A. Battalora is a Teaching Professor in the Petroleum Engineering Department at the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) and a Shultz Humanitarian Engineering Fellow. She holds BS and MS degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Mines, a JD from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, and a PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from Mines. Prior to joining the Faculty at Mines, Linda served in various roles in the oil and gas industry including operations engineer, production engineer, attorney, and international negotiator for oil and gas project development. She teaches Properties of Reservoir Fluids, Mechanics of Petroleum Production, Petroleum Seminar, Field Session, Fossil Energy, Environmental Law and Sustainability, and Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition to teaching in the Petroleum Engineering program at Mines, Linda teaches courses in the Leadership in Social Responsibility, Humanitarian Engineering, Energy, and Midstream Minor programs and the Natural Resources and Energy Policy graduate program at Mines.

Linda is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility (HSSE-SR) Advisory Committee and is Chair of the Sustainable Development Technical Section. She is also a member of multiple professional organizations including the American Society for Engineering Education, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, American Inns of Court, American Bar Association, and the Colorado Bar Association.

Her research areas include HSSE-SR, Sustainable Development, and the Circular Economy. She is the recipient of the 2015 SPE Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished achievement by Petroleum Engineering Faculty and the 2014 Rocky Mountain North America Region Award for distinguished contribution to Petroleum Engineering in Health, Safety, Security, Environment and Social Responsibility.

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Emily A. Sarver Virginia Tech

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Emily Sarver is an Associate Professor of mining engineering, and adjunct faculty to civil and environmental engineering, at Virginia Tech. Her teaching and research interests center on responsible resource production, occupational health, and mine environmental monitoring. Dr. Sarver teaches about sustainable development principles and practices for mineral and energy resource projects at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

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Rennie B. Kaunda Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Rennie Kaunda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mining Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, and a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Kaunda spend 7 years in the mining industry where he worked on more than 50 global projects throughout Africa, Asia, South America and North America. Dr. Kaunda’s areas of expertise are surface and underground rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, numerical modeling and artificial neural network modeling. He has published/coauthored more than 13 peer-reviewed technical papers, 22 conference proceeding abstracts and 13 professional reports in addition to teaching classes and short courses on rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering. Dr Kaunda has performed or coordinated consulting services related to rock mechanics in surface and underground mines, and has also been involved in organizing and chairing sessions during several professional conference meetings.

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Abstract

The growing literature examining engineering students’ attitudes and learning about social responsibility (e.g. Canney and Bielefeldt 2015a, 2015b, 2015c; Rulifson et al. 2014; Rulifson and Bielefeldt 2017) focuses on the professional and personal dimensions of engineers’ responsibilities. Knowledge of how engineering students understand the contested and controversial field of corporate social responsibility (CSR), including its intersections with relation to those other domains of responsibility and the potential tensions that exist among them, is less well developed. This paper addresses that gap by analyzing the first year of research assessing the introduction of CSR-themed content into courses at three universities: Colorado School of Mines, Virginia Tech, and Marietta College.

We analyze pre- and post-module survey responses of over 600 students in targeted mining engineering, petroleum engineering and liberal arts courses, tracking changes in the students’ knowledge, attitudes and skills about CSR and its relation to engineering. Among the courses, we identify differences in the extent to which students: 1) improved in defining CSR and identifying historical trends in its development; 2) broadened their understanding of stakeholders to include oppositional groups; 3) believed that CSR would be essential to their careers as engineers; and 4) considered that training in CSR had enhanced their interest in engineering ethics more broadly. We offer preliminary thoughts on the main causes of those differences, including course content and context, instructor background, and length and depth of the CSR modules. Finally, we conclude by tying our research back to the existing work on engineering students’ attitudes and learning about social responsibility to consider the opportunities and pitfalls of integrating CSR into teaching and learning about social responsibility more generally.

References

Canney, N. and Bielefeldt, A. (2015a). “Differences in Engineering Students’ Views of Social Responsibility between Disciplines.” Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 14 (4): 04015004.

Canney, N. and Bielefeldt, A. (2015b). “Gender differences in the social responsibility attitudes of engineering students and how they change over time.” Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2015011109

Canney, N. and Bielefeldt, A. (2015c). A framework for the development of social responsibility in engineers. International Journal of Engineering Education, 31(1), 414–424.

Rulifson, G.A., Bielefeldt, A.R., Thomas, W. (2014). Understanding of Social Responsibility by First Year Engineering students: Ethical Foundations and Courses. Presented at the ASEE Conference and Expo, Indianapolis, IN.

Rulifson, G., & Bielefeldt, A. R. (2017). Fourth-Year Engineering Students’ Descriptions of the Importance of Improving Society Through their Engineering Careers. Presented at the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, OH.

Smith, J. M., & Smith, N. M., & Rulifson, G., & McClelland, C. J., & Battalora, L. A., & Sarver, E. A., & Kaunda , R. B. (2018, June), Student Learning About Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Comparison Across Engineering and Liberal Arts Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31007

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