Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.487.1 - 4.487.7
Teaching Moral Reasoning Skills Within Standard Civil Engineering Courses
Sal G. Arnaldo, P.E. City of Tallahassee Public Works Department/ University of Florida Department of Civil Engineering
This paper guides civil engineering educators in identifying ways in which moral reasoning skills, keyed to current engineering ethics codes, can be effectively taught within standard undergraduate civil engineering courses. Practical suggestions and examples are offered. Particular attention is given to incorporating these concepts within problem solving methodology.
The average workday of a civil engineer requires the use of “soft skills” (non-technical skills)9. Many students will assume managerial duties early (10 years or less) into their career1. Many situations in professional life (in the both management and technical aspects) require the application of ethical principles.
According to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), criteria for engineering programs in the United States must introduce students to the ethical, social, economic, and safety issues that arise from the practice of engineering. Newly proposed ABET criteria for the 21st century state that programs must demonstrate that their graduates have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility, an ability to effectively communicate, the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global societal context, and a knowledge of contemporary issues3. In the past, required courses such as Introduction to Engineering or Professional Issues in Civil Engineering typically included instruction in ethics issues.
In Florida, there is pressure from the state legislature to reduce the number of credit hours required for graduation4. This places courses that introduce student engineers to societal issues, ethics, and the role of the engineer in jeopardy because they are neither required nor counted for graduation. The alternative is to teach ethical principles within the context of required technical courses—in effect, “seizing the opportunity” to introduce ethics in a new and very relevant way.
Arnaldo, S. (1999, June), Teaching Moral Reasoning Skills Within Standard Civil Engineering Courses Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/7971
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