Creating faculty buy-in for ethics-across-the-curriculum: Year one of developing an ethics curriculum in an undergraduate biological engineering program

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This paper reports the first two phases of an on-going, multi-year project that seeks to create an integrated ethics curriculum for undergraduate Biological Engineering (BE) majors at a large, public university. Our objective is to create an exemplar process that encourages engineering faculty members to contribute to, and develop ownership of, the ethics curriculum. Literature in engineering education research has called attention to faculty buy-in as one of the key indicators of successful educational innovation. Scholars of ethics education also note engineering faculty's attitude as a crucial factor in meaningful integration of ethics in the engineering curriculum. Informed by the findings of engineering education and engineering ethics literature, our project team engages the BE faculty in an ethics curriculum development initiative with five phases: 1) need assessment interviews, 2) faculty workshops, 3) curriculum design, 4) curriculum implementation, and 5) project assessment and improvement. This paper reports in detail the first two phases of this on-going project. First, one of the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with instructors of BE courses to understand their present approaches to ethics education and the perceived need for improvement. Second, authors of this paper organized three interactive workshops, in which the BE faculty and our project team explored frameworks of ethical reasoning, pedagogy for ethics education, and ethics-related learning objectives. These engagement activities resulted in a list of 11 ethics related learning objectives agreed upon by the BE faculty; these learning objectives formed the basis of an ethics-across-the-curriculum experience for BE students. Informed by the interview findings and the list of ethics learning objectives, the authors continue to work with a team of BE instructors to develop appropriate course contents, instructional materials, and delivery methods in four successive courses that spread across the junior and senior years of the BE curriculum. The design, implementation, and assessment of the ethics curriculum will be reported in future publications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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