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Teaching Engineering Ethics In A Multi Disciplinary Environment

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics III

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

13.1161.1 - 13.1161.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3570

Download Count

45

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Paper Authors

biography

David Godfrey U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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David Godfrey, MSEE, PE, is an assistant professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). He graduated from USCGA with his BSEE in 1992 and earned his MSEE from University of Rhode Island in 1997. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Address: U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Department of Engineering, 27 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320-8101; telephone: 860-444-8536; fax: 860-444-8546; e-mail: David.J.Godfrey@uscga.edu.

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Todd Taylor U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Todd Taylor is an Associate Professor at the US Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). He is the head of the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major. He earned his MS degree in Ocean Engineering and PhD degree in Hydrodynamics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Address: U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Department of Engineering, 27 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320-8101; telephone: 860-444-8551; fax: 860-444-8546; e-mail: Todd.E.Taylor@uscga.edu.

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Corinna Fleischmann U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Corinna Fleischmann, MSCE, PE, is an instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). She graduated from USCGA with his BSCE in 1998 and earned her MSCE from University of Texas, Austin in 2004. She holds the rank of Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Address: U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Department of Engineering, 27 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320-8101; telephone: 860-444-8531; fax: 860-444-8546; e-mail: Corinna.M.Fleischmann@uscga.edu.

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Daniel Pickles U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Daniel Pickles, MSEE, is an assistant professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA). He graduated from USCGA with his BSEE in 1994 and earned his MSEE from University of Rhode Island in 1999. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Address: U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Department of Engineering, 27 Mohegan Ave., New London, CT 06320-8101; telephone: 860-444-8318; fax: 860-444-8546; e-mail: Daniel.K.Pickles@uscga.edu.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

TEACHING ENGINEERING ETHICS IN A MULTI- DISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENT Abstract

Most engineering faculty will agree that student engineers need a strong foundation in engineering ethics. Incorporating professional ethics into an already crowded engineering curriculum can be difficult. The engineering faculty at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) have implemented a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching ethics outside of the classroom environment. Our “Engineering Ethics Lunches” bring students and faculty from all four engineering disciplines: Electrical, Civil, Mechanical and Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering together in small groups to discuss ethics as they uniquely apply to the engineering discipline.

Historically, ethics instruction at USCGA has been based upon a core “Morals and Ethics” course taken by all students, regardless of major. While this course provides the students with a good foundation in classical ethics theory, it did not include “engineering ethics”. Specific instruction on engineering ethics was left to the instructors of each major’s senior design capstone course. However, depending upon the knowledge, interest or even class time available to the individual faculty members, this instruction was inconsistent and varied each year.

Starting in the 2006-2007 academic year, in an effort to improve upon and formalize ethics instruction for all engineering students, the four instructors of each major’s senior design capstone project began holding multi-disciplinary “Engineering Ethics Lunches”. Students and faculty form small groups during scheduled lunches to discuss specific ethical topics related to the engineering profession. The discussions are based upon assigned readings and suggested talking points developed jointly by the faculty. Afterwards, the students are required to submit essays reviewing their discussions and answering an ethical question based upon the topic.

Now in its fourth semester, the multi-disciplinary ethics lunches have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the instructors and students. This paper will discuss the format of the multi-disciplinary ethics discussions, the type of topics covered and the authors’ efforts to develop a handbook to reduce the preparation required for future lunches. The paper will also review the advantages of these lunches, including reduced workload for instructors and the integration of ethics into the curriculum without displacing discipline-specific engineering topics.

Introduction

Most engineering faculty will agree that student engineers need a strong foundation in engineering ethics. Even if there is disagreement, criterion 3f of ABET’s accreditation requirement, which states that engineering programs must demonstrate that their students possess “an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility”1, ensures that engineering programs will devote time to teaching engineering ethics. However, incorporating professional ethics into an already crowded engineering curriculum can be

Godfrey, D., & Taylor, T., & Fleischmann, C., & Pickles, D. (2008, June), Teaching Engineering Ethics In A Multi Disciplinary Environment Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3570

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015