New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Discourse on empathy is growing globally, as is its focus within the engineering community. In the context of engineering, scholars have depicted this interpersonal phenomenon as a necessary skill for effectively communicating, a core component of ethical reasoning, and a key technique for designing to meet the needs of users. However, literature regarding its development within engineering is rather limited, and the literature that does exist is disconnected. Even literature outside of engineering tends to focus on childhood development as opposed to adult development. While the developmental literature may tend to focus on earlier ages (likely because this is when an individual most rapidly develops), the endeavor of empathic growth and development need not be abandoned within post-secondary education. Rather, it indicates that we lack an understanding of the ideal means for empathic development later in one’s life.
Given the growing emphasis on the necessity of empathy to thrive as an engineer, engineering educators need to understand the constellation of existing tools and pedagogical techniques to foster empathy within the engineering curriculum. This synthesis piece highlights a variety of educational contexts and pedagogical techniques, each of which we posit are equally salient and mutually supportive for the development of engineering students’ empathic skills, abilities, or dispositions. We draw from literature from a wide variety of fields, including counselling, psychology, moral philosophy, psychotherapy, neuropsychology, and engineering education. In sum, we describe five educational contexts and a myriad of techniques that we posit, when used effectively and spread across engineering curricula, will be effective means towards the development of empathy among engineering students.
Hess, J. L., & Fila, N. D. (2016, June), The Development and Growth of Empathy Among Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26120
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