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Teaching Engineers How To Make A Difference: Inte

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Cultivating Professional Responsibility

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1077.1 - 7.1077.10



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Paper Authors

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Betsy Dulin

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

Main Menu Session 2461

Teaching Engineers How to Make A Difference: Integration of Public Policy Concepts into Engineering Curricula

Betsy Ennis Dulin Marshall University College of Information Technology and Engineering

Abstract Engineers, regardless of their areas of specialization, routinely are involved in projects with broad public policy implications. For example, engineers usually play a leading role in the design, permitting, and construction of controversial facilities. In addition, the design and development of any new technology often requires support or involvement from the public as well as the government. In many cases, engineers are poorly prepared to handle political, administrative and legal processes that are vitally important in the implementation of almost any engineering design, construction, or development project. Engineers also miss important opportunities to participate in the development of public policy at the highest levels, including the legislative process and agency rule-making, due to a lack of familiarity and relative comfort with the applicable processes. Consequently, the public and governmental bodies are denied the benefit of the engineer’s unique perspective on policy issues. This paper identifies specific areas of public policy often encountered by engineers and discusses policy development processes that would be greatly enriched by increased participation from the engineering community. In addition, the paper identifies ways in which undergraduate and graduate engineering programs can prepare engineers to be more effective practitioners and better serve their clients, their employers, and their profession in the political, legal and administrative environments.

Typical Public Policy Forums In a democratic society, the development and implementation of public policy can take many forms. Even the term “public policy” is not susceptible to a uniformly accepted definition. In general, the term is most often used to describe the results of actions taken by the government in response to real or perceived public issues and concerns, in a manner that directly or indirectly affects the public. 15 In particular, in the United States, the conversion of a particular issue into policy may occur through various governmental bodies in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Perhaps the type of policy development most familiar to the public is the legislative process, at both the federal and state levels. The public at large becomes involved in this process primarily through the election of legislators. In addition, because state and federal legislation must go through “bicameralism and presentment” (passage by the legislative branch and signing by the President or governor, as appropriate), the public theoretically has another chance to influence legislative policy through elections. However, during the process through which an issue first appears on the legislative agenda, and the subsequent debate, committees, and other legislative decision-making processes, the public has many opportunities to become involved in a more “Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Dulin, B. (2002, June), Teaching Engineers How To Make A Difference: Inte Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10287

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