Seager: The article below is from US News and World Report. It quotes Brad Allenby, a co-Investigator on the NSF grant #1134943, and Ron Kline, a friend from Cornell, who first suggested that students should participate in the design or re-design of ethics games so that they can experiment with the incentive structures and the “win” conditions that reflect their own values. The article itself doesn’t break any particularly new ground in engineering ethics education methods. It simply suggests that interest in ethics education is growing from very low levels.
But students say some engineering programs are slow to adopt accrediting body’s new ethics guidelines.
When Liz Boatman saw a copy of Ethics in Engineering atop a trash can at the University of California—Berkeley’s College of Engineering in fall 2011, the materials science and engineering doctoral candidate saw a metaphor for what she perceived as Berkeley’s neglect of ethics in engineering. Half a year later, Boatman still stands by an article she wrote for Berkeley Science Review, “Engineering: Throwing Our Ethics into the Trash (Literally).”
“It’s as if the faculty prefer to operate under the premise that ethics conscientiousness is simply implied by being an engineer, although nothing could be further from the truth,” she says. “While it is true that our courses weave in ethical components, simply discussing ‘factors of safety’ for a design problem or receiving isolated sexual harassment training for teaching preparation is an ethical education that falls far short of serious preparation for confronting ethical dilemmas.”