Assessing the Ethical Development of Civil Engineering Undergraduates in Support of the ASCE Body of Knowledge

TitleAssessing the Ethical Development of Civil Engineering Undergraduates in Support of the ASCE Body of Knowledge
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCarpenter, DD, Harding, TS, Sutkus, JA, Finelli, CJ
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Date Published2014
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsASCE , ENGINEERING , ethics , information , professional , undergraduate
AbstractDeveloping engineers must be aware that technological development and emerging global issues will require a keen sense of ethical responsibility. Therefore, they must be prepared to reason through and act appropriately on the ethical dilemmas they will experience as professionals. From a civil engineering professional perspective, graduates need to conform to the ASCE Body of Knowledge as they prepare for the Vision of 2025. This investigation evaluated different institutional approaches for ethics education with a goal of better preparing students to be ethical professionals. The project included visiting 19 diverse partner institutions and collecting data from nearly 150 faculty and administrators and more than 4,000 engineering undergraduates including 567 civil engineering undergraduates who completed the survey. Findings suggest that co-curricular experiences have an important influence on ethical development, that quality of instruction is more important than quantity of curricular experiences, that students are less likely to be satisfied with ethics instruction when they have higher ethical reasoning skills, and that the institutional culture makes affects how students behave and how they articulate concepts of ethics. Overall, regression analysis indicates that civil engineering student responses were consistent with the overall engineering undergraduate population. Finally, the research suggests the curricular foundation is in place, but that institutions need to improve their curricular and co-curricular offerings to facilitate ethical development of students and fulfill ASCE Body of Knowledge outcomes.