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We Can’t Get No Satisfaction!: The Relationship between Students’ Ethical Reasoning and their Satisfaction with Engineering Ethics Education

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Understanding Our Students

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

22.1670.1 - 22.1670.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18508

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

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Matthew Holsapple Univeristy of Michigan

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Matthew Holsapple is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. His research interests include moral development and character education in higher students, professional ethics education, and research design and quasi-experimental methods in research on college student outcomes.

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Janel A. Sutkus Carnegie Mellon University

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Dr. Janel A. Sutkus is Director of Institutional Research and Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, where she is responsible for analysis and assessment of administrative and academic functions university-wide and within CMU’s colleges. She holds a Ph.D. in organizational behavior and management from the Center for the Study of Higher and Post-secondary Education at the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Iowa, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and music from Cornell College.

Prior to her work at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Sutkus was a college administrator and adjunct instructor for 15 years at two undergraduate liberal arts colleges. She also taught non-experimental educational research methods as a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan, and was a virtual writing instructor at Marygrove College, working with masters' students on quantitative and qualitative research papers for the departments of education and criminal justice. She is a member of the Association for Institutional Research, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Association of American Universities Data Exchange.

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Donald D. Carpenter Lawrence Technological University

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Dr. Donald Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and the Director of Assessment at Lawrence Technological University. Prior to being Director of Assessment, Dr. Carpenter was the Founding Director for the Center of Teaching & Learning at Lawrence Tech where he was responsible for conducting faculty development programs. In addition, Dr. Carpenter actively conducts educational and pedagogical research on teamwork, leadership, and ethical development and is Kern Fellow for Entrepreneurial Education.

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Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering (CRLT-Engin) and research associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. In addition, she actively pursues research in engineering education and assists other faculty in their scholarly projects. She is past Chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE and guest co-editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Engineering Education on applications of engineering education research.

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Brian A. Burt University of Michigan

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Brian A. Burt is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. He serves as a research assistant at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering. His broad research interests include understanding the doctoral student experience.

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Eunjong Ra University of Michigan

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Eunjong Ra is a doctoral candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, she worked for the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology in Korea as a deputy director, where her responsibilities included lifelong learning, international cooperation, and performance management. Her research interests include student college choice, sociology of education, college finance, and the application of quasi-experimental methods to the study of these issues.

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Trevor Scott Harding California Polytechnic State University

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Dr. Trevor S. Harding is Chair and Professor of Materials Engineering at California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo where he teaches courses in biomaterials, solidification metallurgy, tribology and life cycle design. Dr. Harding has published numerous manuscripts in the area of ethical development of engineering undergraduates through application of psycho-social models of moral expertise. He also conducts research in student motivation, service learning, and project-based learning. His technical research is focused on degradation of biomedical materials in vitro. He currently serves as Associate Editor of the online journal Advances in Engineering Education, is Chair of the ASEE Materials Division, and was ERM Vice-Chair for the 2010 ASEE Annual Conference. He recently received the 2008 President’s Service Learning Award for innovations in the use of service learning at Cal Poly. In 2004 he was named a Templeton Research Fellow by the Center for Academic Integrity, Duke University. Dr. Harding received both the 1999 Apprentice Faculty Grant and 2000 New Faculty Fellow Award for his contributions to engineering education.

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Robert M. Bielby University of Michigan

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Robert Bielby is a doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Post-secondary Education focusing in higher education policy and quantitative methodology.

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Abstract

We can’t get no satisfaction!: The relationship between students’ ethical reasoning andtheir satisfaction with engineering ethics educationIn a time of constricting budgets and growing demands from students, student satisfaction isoften a factor in deciding which educational programs continue to be supported and funded.Program and course evaluations often rely on student satisfaction reports rather than moresophisticated assessments of effectiveness, and published engineering education research usesstudent satisfaction as an outcome in evaluating education interventions and types of courses.Satisfaction has also been linked to student motivation and retention.Little research, however, has been done to analyze which student characteristics and experiencespredict satisfaction with any type of higher education program, and this question is absent in thepublished research on professional engineering ethics education. In this paper, we examine thefollowing research question: How do student characteristics, experiences, and ethicaldevelopment predict satisfaction with professional engineering ethics education?This study is part of a larger investigation of ethics education in engineering programs at 18institutions of differing Carnegie classifications, geographic location, and student characteristics.We analyzed survey data collected from a stratified random sample of engineering students(n=3914) at these institutions. Students completed questions related to measures of three types ofethical development: knowledge of ethics, ethical reasoning, and ethical behavior. In addition,they provided demographic information, details about their ethics education, and reported theirsatisfaction with their professional engineering ethics education to date.We use analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare the ethical reasoning scores – as measured byRest and colleagues’ Defining Issues Test-2 – of students who reported being “very satisfied,”“satisfied,” “unsatisfied,” and “very unsatisfied” with their engineering ethics education. The testdemonstrates that students with higher levels of ethical reasoning are less satisfied with theirethics education than their peers with lower levels of ethical reasoning, and we find significantdifferences between all four groups of students. The score of students who were “verydissatisfied” with their education was more than 0.280 standard deviations higher than those whowere “very satisfied.”With the results of the ANOVA as a starting point, we explore other systematic differencesamong students based on their satisfaction with their engineering ethics education. Using anordered logistic regression model with the four levels of satisfaction as the outcome, we examinethe effect of student demographics, characteristics of students’ ethics instruction, and otherstudent characteristics and experiences on self-reported satisfaction with ethics education.Preliminary results suggest that factors including gender, class year, and amount and type ofethics instruction predict students’ level of satisfaction. Finally, we re-examined the relationshipbetween ethical reasoning and satisfaction within the context of this regression model todetermine the nature of that relationship after controlling for these other factors – allowing us toconclude that even while taking into account other variables, satisfaction with ethics instructionis inversely related to ethical reasoning, an intended outcome of that instruction. We conclude thepaper by offering practical suggestions for making ethics instruction both effective and satisfyingto students.

Holsapple, M., & Sutkus, J. A., & Carpenter, D. D., & Finelli, C. J., & Burt, B. A., & Ra, E., & Harding, T. S., & Bielby, R. M. (2011, June), We Can’t Get No Satisfaction!: The Relationship between Students’ Ethical Reasoning and their Satisfaction with Engineering Ethics Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18508

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