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Embedding ethics into an engineering curriculum

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1 Author(s)
Fleischmann, S. ; Seymour & Esther Padnos Sch. of Eng., Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Ethics has long been a required topic in an ABET approved engineering curriculum, but the list of 11 requirements - known by most engineering educators as the "a-k criteria" of ABET 2000 makes it clear that ethics must be far more than simply a topic to be covered somewhere in the curriculum. Teaching ethics is an essential part of teaching professionalism and must be a foundational strand that runs throughout the entire curriculum. In this paper the approach that is under development at the Padnos School of Engineering (PSE) at Grand Valley State University will be described. Students are introduced to the "Honor Concept" (which includes an Honor Code) as freshmen. The PSE program requires 1500 hours of coop experience which is normally divided into three semesters of full-time work alternated with academic semesters during the last two years of the program. This offers the faculty an opportunity to teach ethics as a natural aspect of professionalism through the academic requirements for coop. These elements and other parts of the approach under development will be described as well as observations about the success of this approach to date.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education, 2003. FIE 2003 33rd Annual  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

5-8 Nov. 2003