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Ethics Across the Curriculum Dr José A. Cruz Dr. William J. Frey Dr. Halley D. Sánchez University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Center for Ethics in the Professions.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics Across the Curriculum Dr José A. Cruz Dr. William J. Frey Dr. Halley D. Sánchez University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Center for Ethics in the Professions."— Presentation transcript:


2 Ethics Across the Curriculum Dr José A. Cruz Dr. William J. Frey Dr. Halley D. Sánchez University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Center for Ethics in the Professions Centro Para la Ética en las Profesiones College Board – October 11, 2002 © 2002 by Cruz, Frey & Sanchez

3 Our agenda for today Present EAC (ethics across the curriculum) as an effective way to integrate ethics across the university curriculum Model two successful ethics integration modules Introductory Ethics Integration Exercise or Pre-test Gray Matters (loosely based on the game of the same name) Discuss our exercise and case development efforts

4 What is EAC? Ethics Across the Curriculum One of the leading trends in ethics pedagogy today is to have an ethical component or module incorporated into the actual professional or occupational course to supplement the freestanding ethics course.

5 EAC is holistic EAC requires establishing an overall plan that coordinates a series of activities: A.Freestanding Course (Required or Elective) B.Ethics Integration Projects for mainstream courses C.Special Activities

6 A. Freestanding Course Course in Practical and Professional Ethics taught by an ethicist, practical specialist, or both Repository of Research, Knowledge, and Innovation Viable option for career-oriented students who want to study ethical issues in more depth

7 B. Ethics Integration Activities Todays Two Examples: Introductory Ethics Module for Introduction to Computers (Dr. Cruzs exercise) Introduces students to ethical issues in computing Introduces students to ethics cases and basic ethical frameworks Gray Matters (Module that Frey uses in Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Class) Promotes integration of ethical issues into a rational decision- making process

8 C. Special Activities These activities occur outside the the main curriculum, for example: Special Presentations (Three UPRM engineering professorsindustrial, mechanical, civilpresent on super- aqueduct accident in Puerto Rico) Student Activities (UPRM students revise CIAPR code of ethics for Co-Op students) Competitions (APPEs Ethics Bowl)

9 EAC is Interdisciplinary EAC recognizes that ethical problems in PPE must be approached from an interdisciplinary standpoint Makes use of cases and exercises that integrate ethical, technical and mathematical components Our goal: To get 15% of our faculty committed to and empowered in EAC through various activities including yearly ethics retreats. Through this 15% (and the ethics integration projects they sponsor), we hypothesize that it is possible to empower ethically 85% of our students.

10 Ethics Across the Curriculum: A Module for Introduction to Computers José A. Cruz-Cruz

11 Exercise Outline Individually react to some short scenarios Discuss one of the scenarios Introduce the The 3 Tests Discuss another scenario using the 3 tests Concluding Remarks

12 Ethics-Related Scenarios For each scenario briefly react to the following three questions, for example: An employee uses his/her computer at work to send e-mail to friends and relatives. 1. Do you think this situation is Common/Realistic? Yes or No 2. Do you consider this situation Ethical or not? Ethical or Unethical 3. Do you think someone may disagree with you? Yes or No

13 Our Students Comments I dont want to be treated as a slave or robot. These people get paid well to work. Some work hard, while others surf the Internet? As long as my boss doesnt see me … I minimize the browser … Maybe someone opens an e-mail with a virus … Maybe the person doesnt have a PC at home? Isnt this similar to using the phone to call a friend? Everybody does it!

14 1. REVERSIBILITY 2. PUBLICITY 3. HARM Ethical Decision Making Tests Based on handouts from the Ethics in BSE Retreat, A Guide for Ethical Decision Making (Dr. Vivian Weil and Dr. Michael Davis)

15 REVERSIBILITY Would I think this is a good choice if I where among those affected by it? Put yourself into the other persons shoes Students bring up this issue, for example: As an employee … Im not a slave/robot … As an employer … I pay these people well … As a colleague … I work hard, others surf? …

16 PUBLICITY Would I want or mind if this choice is published in the newspaper? Ojos que no ven, corazón que no siente What the eyes dont see is not heartfelt Students bring up this issue, for example: … early in the morning before the boss arrives … I toggle between e-mail & the task at hand

17 HARM Does the action cause harm? Does it do less harm than the alternatives? El remedio es peor que la enfermedad The remedy is worst than the illness Students bring up this issue, for example: Does it interferes with others work? Some take advantage … others dont! Ban the use of e-mail and Internet?

18 Revisit the Scenarios Re-evaluate a scenario using the 3 tests: REVERSIBILITY, PUBLICITY & HARM Did your perception of the situation change? How might we avoid similar situations in the future? For Example: Promote awareness of Institutional Policy or Guidelines Provide Training and Helpdesk

19 Why is Ethics Important? Our awareness of ethics affects our behavior. If we incorporate ethical considerations early in the decision-making process we can avoid difficult ethical choices later on. Its everybody's responsibility. Ernest A. Kallman and John P. Grillo, Ethical Decision Making and Information Technology, 2nd ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. (p. 19)

20 Where to go from here? Take a course in Engineering or Business Ethics Study Professional & Corporate Codes of Conduct Seek and read ethics-related articles Take the time to read ethics related chapters and excerpts available in many textbooks Discuss ethical issues with your colleagues & friends Internet Sites (, & many others)

21 Conclusion Be Ethical, be WISE! Thank you! Any Questions?

22 Moral Minimum A non-Philosopher teaching Ethics?

23 Definition of Ethics Ethics: the systematic and critical study of social practices Example: Engineering ethics is the systematical and critical study of the social practice of engineering. Systematic: employs principles and logical argument in assessing the norms of a practice. Critical: Systematic examination may show that practical norms fail to meet ethical criteria and need to be revised.

24 The Moral Minimum The minimum basis from which we can start the process of ethical reflection in a given practice. It is composed of the three ethics tests: Harm, Reversibility, & Publicity These help us to find common ground between different political, ideological, and cultural views. It, thus, provides the basis for a dialogue on the ethical issues that arise in a given practice. It does this without forcing consensus or agreement.

25 Partial Encapsulation Each of these tests provides us with an initial access to one or more major ethical approaches: Harm: harm minimization is an essential component of utilitarian theory Reversibility is an essential component of respect for others which is shared by deontology and rights theory Publicity reveals aspects of virtue theory if we assume that the actions with which we are publicly associated provide others with windows through which they can view and evaluate our characters.

26 Grounding These ethical approaches cover different dimensions of the human action. These different dimensions (or perspectives) must be integrated in a moral decision Trading them off, selecting one and setting the others aside, creates blind spots in ones judgments. Crucial aspects of the moral worth of an action are omitted in a decision that considers the act from only one of these dimensions.

27 Schematic Summary Dimension of Action Ethical Approach Aspect Emphasized Intuitive Test Outer Consequentialism or Teleology Results or finalitiesHarm (Does this action minimize harm?) Inner DeontologyFormal Characteristics: universality, logical consistency, necessity Reversibility (Is act still acceptable after agent shifts places with subject?) Agent Virtue EthicsDispositions and traits that form character of agent Publicity (Would I want my action made public?)

28 Gray Matters: An Ethics Integration Module Teaching decision-making

29 Description of Gray Matters Lockheed/Martin game Scenario designed to elicit a decision Scenario is followed by a series of possible solutions Multiple choice test formatone of the solutions represents company policy GoalAcquaint employees with company policy concerning common ethical problems

30 Gray MattersOur Version Origin: Developed to highlight cases we designed in NSF-SBR- 9810253 and UPR-Central Administration grants Objective Teach decision-making by emphasizing ethical awareness, ethical evaluation, and ethical integration Form Decision scenario followed by possible courses of action Right answer not necessarily included because the right answer is what both optimizes ethics tests and can be implemented over real world constraints (that are embodied in a feasibility test)

31 A Disclaimer on the Cases Some might think that they recognize in the following cases certain real world companies or individuals. But these cases are designed to develop moral imagination, not practice real world journalism The truth is, these cases are composites and have no real world correlate. Those who are convinced of a real world correlate will deconstruct according to their own designs. But their deconstructions of our cases are as fanciful as those of the French philosopher, Derrida.

32 Pacemaker Case A pacemaker manufacturing company (PACE Inc.) located in a small town in Puerto Rico provides jobs to about 80% of the towns workforce. Profit margins are thin in this competitive field which includes larger U.S. companies. You are on an R&D team for PACE that has studied two options for the circuitry: BULK CMOS and SOI. The team favors BULK CMOS because the manufacturing process is simpler and cheaper. But the chips will be larger and consume more energy; this means more surgery for the patients to replace the batteries. Overall, the use of BULK CMOS would reduce patient life expectancy by 15%. Given this knowledge, what should you do?

33 Alternatives 1. Go along with the team and advocate the simpler and cheaper process. 2. Oppose the team and advocate the more complex, more expensive, but safer process. Try to persuade the team members to opt for safety. 3. Oppose the team. Force agreement by threatening to blow the whistle. 4. Resign from PACE, Inc. 5. Design your own solution.

34 Instructions for Gray Matters 1. Read the scenario and solutions. 2. Choose from the solutions offered the one you think is the best and the one you think is the worst 3. Using the ethics tests, explain why these solutions are your choices for best and worst. 4. What would you do in this situation? Why? 5. Meta-Thinking: think about the questions and problems that arise as you work with the ethics tests framework

35 Inkjet Case You are a UPRM engineering graduate from a small town in Puerto Rico and have started working in your first job as a member of a research and development team charged with designing a new generation of printers for a market leader in this area. The company you work for wants to maintain its leadership. It also wants to respond to the emerging environmental problem caused by the disposal of the inkjet cartridges used in its current model. However, these inkjet cartridges are made in your hometown. If the new generation of printers does not use disposable cartridges, then this plant will close, putting friends and family out of work. Your company is a leader in empowering its employees. But what should you do with this newly found power?

36 Inkjet Solutions 1. Resign from the R&D team because you have a conflict of interest. 2. Use your position on the team to argue that the company does not need to develop a new generation of printers. In this way guarantee that your friends and family will keep their jobs. 3. Sit back and see what the senior members of the team want. Then enthusiastically embrace this. 4. Advocate designing a recyclable cartridge that could be manufactured in the hometown plant. 5. Design your own solution.

37 Cases and Scenarios Results: 50 cases with NSF SBR-9810253 40 cases with ABET workshops

38 Teaching and Writing Cases Case Discussion helps students learn ethics. Discuss Real World cases that portray everyday situations rather than focus exclusively on big news/bad news cases. Students will modify their moral views in response to arguments by teachers and peers. Closure in the sense of reaching the definitive right answer is not necessary Case discussion allows students to practice decision- making and to integrate ethical frameworks into decision-making.

39 Writing your own cases: Guidelines Choose your topic so that it integrates nicely into your class Sources: codes of ethics and textbook exercises Choose the perspective or voice of the case Judge perspective if the goal is to evaluate Participants perspective if the goal is to practice decision making Choose when to end the case At a moment of decision or after the action has been taken

40 Building Solutions For Gray Matters Build solutions around five generic options: (1) give in (2) get more information and document (3) opposenegotiate (4) opposeconfront (5) resign or exit

41 What You Can Do? Integration Projects

42 Integration Project Project Modeled (By José A. Cruz) Course: Introduction to Computer Data Processing (Required) Exercise Title: Introduction to Ethical Issues (Ethics Pre- Test) Objectives: Ethical awareness and evaluation Outcomes: students will be able to pick out cases that raise ethical issues and evaluate scenarios using ethics tests Mode of Assessment: test questions, syllabus, sample writings, and General Module Evaluation Form

43 Integration Project Course: INEL 4151 & 4152 (Required Course in Electromagnetic) Exercise Title: Healthy/Safety Case (Mayagüez Land-Fill) Objectives: Ethical Evaluation Outcomes: Students will evaluate scenario using ethics tests of harm, reversibility, and publicity after solving numerical problems. Mode of Assessment: test questions and class discussion

44 Integration Project (Recognized) Course: INEL/ICOM (By Luis Jiménez) Module Title: Ética e Ingenieria: Modulo de Ética para cursos de INEL/ICOM Objectives: ethical awareness, evaluation and integration (ABET 3f, 3h, and 4) Outcomes: learn utilitarianism, deontology, virtue, codes, global and environmental impacts of engineering Assessment: students develop virtue and duty lists for professors and students

45 Integration Project Course: FILO 3185 - Computer Ethics (Elective) Exercise Title: Social Impact Statement Objectives: Ethical awareness, evaluation, integration, prevention, value realization Outcomes: students will select a real world computer system, describe its logical and physical components, identify hidden ethical problems, and develop feasible counter-measures to problems Mode of Assessment: Presentation, written report graded with rubric

46 Manuals Manual on Introductory Ethics Integration Exercise Click on Pedagogical and then on An Exercise in Ethical Empowerment Click on Publications and Conferences, then Ethics across the Curriculum, then below General Description of Module on Goals, Description, and Source of Activity

47 Online NSF Project for cases in computer ethics: Online Format for complex cases Therac-25 Machado Case Hughes Aircraft Gray Matters Exercises Instructors Materials (Explanation of Ethics Tests) Student Exercises and Evaluation Matrices

48 How to get started … Take inventory of what you are already doing. (Recognition Projects) Identify likely courses for integration exercises (Pilot Projects) Required courses and popular electives Target different years (Fr., Soph., Jr., & Sr) Identify an intervention point (where an ethical issue naturally arises in the course). Design the exercise to fit the context (Pre-test and/or Gray Matters)

49 Lets keep in touch … Create you own exercise (We will help you!) Experiment in your classes Document and assess it Share your results & let us know what doing Visit

50 Thank you for participating! Any Questions?

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