April 22: ENE Faculty Candidate Seminar

Event Date: April 22, 2008
Speaker: Jessica Tucker
Speaker Affiliation: Stonybrook University
Location: CIVL 3153
Contact Name: Karen Ferry
Incorporating Engineering Ethics Within Undergraduate Engineering Education
Jessica Tucker
Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University

The incorporation of a socially and ethically relevant framework in the teaching of engineering at the undergraduate level is slowly being recognized as a need in engineering education. Thorough analysis of efforts to introduce such contexts within engineering classrooms has not been undertaken. I hypothesize that, in addition to being valuable for engineering education generally, such efforts can also make engineering disciplines more attractive to women and underrepresented minorities. In my post-doctoral and current research, I am characterizing the efforts currently utilized in universities to integrate social relevance and engineering in the curriculum. The study I will discuss in depth evaluates the effects of these efforts on overall student interest in the field and retention, women and minority student interest and retention, and students’ awareness of the overlap between society and technology. This study consists of a pre- and post-semester survey of students in engineering courses at nine separate universities that incorporate ethics and social responsibility to a greater or lesser degree. Results of this study indicate that these courses positively impact students’ interests in and awareness of social issues in engineering contexts. I will also discuss trends in the data that pertain to specific demographic groups. I will make suggestions for future work to examine the impacts that ethics and social relevance have on students’ understanding of engineering concepts, views of engineering disciplines, and desires to become or remain engineers, with a focus on the attitudes of women and underrepresented minorities.

Jessica Tucker is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University within the Department of Technology and Society. She also lectures within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stony Brook. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship that was supported by the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education within the National Academy of Engineering during the 2006-2007 academic year. Dr. Tucker holds a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She has also spent two years working in research and development within the pharmaceutical industry. Her research examines tactics for incorporating aspects of ethics, social responsibility, and social justice within the ethos of engineering education.