New Grant for Duke University Will Incorporate Ethics in Engineering
Most engineering programs at the college and university level prepare students for the basics of engineering, as well as advanced methods and tools. One thing that these programs overlook is ethics. Ethics should be part of every holistic engineering programs, but unfortunately, it’s not. Engineering impacts the lives of everyone, but students are not seeing how their creations are helping or hurting others because they lack a basic education of engineering ethics. When they start their careers, this lack of information can cause them to lose their license and even derail their career.
The good news is that some schools are making it a point to ensure that students graduate with a basic knowledge of ethics in the professional engineering field. One such school is Duke University. The Pratt School of Engineering recently received a new grant from The Kern Family Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Engineering Program. The grant is titled “Purposefully Duke: Reimagining Engineering Education for Purpose, Character and Ethics,” and will result in a collaboration with Duke Engineering, Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics and Duke Divinity School.
This grant will allow Duke professors to help undergraduate students focus on character values as they learn the principles of professional engineering. It will also bring in outside experts who will work with faculty and staff to come up with a plan for discussing ethics in real-world situations that students can relate to and might experience at some point in their professional engineering careers. The overall goal is to implement programs that explore and reinforce ethics, as well as character and purpose, in the field of professional engineering.
Ethics is important in the current state of the world. Technology is rapidly changing and professional engineers are coming up with new ideas all the time. They are excited to see how their inventions will impact the lives of others. However, ethics has been overlooked by major companies in the past few years. To prevent these issues from occurring, Duke University feels that professional engineering students should be knowledgeable of morals and ethics in the field. The grant will help create programs that teaches students to thoroughly explore the issues that new technologies may pose to the public before marketing a product. They should be taught that the health and safety of the public should always be their number one priority.
Duke Engineering also plans to get help from engineering professionals to accomplish this goal. By encouraging current professional engineers to recount how they dealt with challenging situations, students can see that ethical issues can occur quite regularly and that they must always be prepared to handle them.
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As technology advances, professional engineers need to stay on top of trends as well as ethical issues. While the engineering field strives to be innovative, this innovation can come at a risk to the public.
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