Science and Engineering Ethics

, 15:577

Educating the Humanitarian Engineer

Original Paper

Abstract

The creation of new technologies that serve humanity holds the potential to help end global poverty. Unfortunately, relatively little is done in engineering education to support engineers’ humanitarian efforts. Here, various strategies are introduced to augment the teaching of engineering ethics with the goal of encouraging engineers to serve as effective volunteers for community service. First, codes of ethics, moral frameworks, and comparative analysis of professional service standards lay the foundation for expectations for voluntary service in the engineering profession. Second, standard coverage of global issues in engineering ethics educates humanitarian engineers about aspects of the community that influence technical design constraints encountered in practice. Sample assignments on volunteerism are provided, including a prototypical design problem that integrates community constraints into a technical design problem in a novel way. Third, it is shown how extracurricular engineering organizations can provide a theory-practice approach to education in volunteerism. Sample completed projects are described for both undergraduates and graduate students. The student organization approach is contrasted with the service-learning approach. Finally, long-term goals for establishing better infrastructure are identified for educating the humanitarian engineer in the university, and supporting life-long activities of humanitarian engineers.

Keywords

Engineering ethics education Volunteerism Humanitarian Service-learning Community design projects 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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