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Michael Davis Article PowerPoint Lecture Prepared by Christy Moore

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1 Michael Davis Article PowerPoint Lecture Prepared by Christy Moore
“Thinking Like an Engineer: The Place of a Code of Ethics in the Practice of a Profession” Michael Davis Article PowerPoint Lecture Prepared by Christy Moore

2 The Challenger disaster is the foundation of the discussion.
Ask class to recount the events using slides 3 through 8 as prompts. I start by asking them who the players were. Talking about Lund and Mason gets them started in the discussion Then, depending on my time constraints, I break them into groups and ask them to think about four question(listed on slide 9) or just start tackling those questions in an ongoing class discussion: What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Is this common notion that Davis paraphrases, true? 2. “Why do we have codes of ethics?” --What does Davis say? --Other ideas? 3. Why obey one’s code of ethics? 4. Why isn’t conscience enough? (Davis, 1991), (www.ccastronomy.org/ high_flight.htm)

3 The Challenger disaster is the foundation of the discussion.
Robert Lund (VP for Engineering at Morton Thiokol) Recommends against the launch Because of faulty O-rings Jerald Mason (Lund’s boss) Asks him to reconsider Asks him to think like a manager, not an engineer Ask class to recount the events using slides 3 through 8 as prompts. I start by asking them who the players were. Talking about Lund and Mason gets them started in the discussion Then, depending on my time constraints, I break them into groups and ask them to think about four question(listed on slide 9) or just start tackling those questions in an ongoing class discussion: What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Is this common notion that Davis paraphrases, true? 2. “Why do we have codes of ethics?” --What does Davis say? --Other ideas? 3. Why obey one’s code of ethics? 4. Why isn’t conscience enough? (Davis, 1991), image: (www.enforcer31.com/ wanted1.htm)

4 Lund changes his recommendation
Ask class to recount the events using slides 3 through 8 as prompts. I start by asking them who the players were. Talking about Lund and Mason gets them started in the discussion Then, depending on my time constraints, I break them into groups and ask them to think about four question(listed on slide 9) or just start tackling those questions in an ongoing class discussion: What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Is this common notion that Davis paraphrases, true? 2. “Why do we have codes of ethics?” --What does Davis say? --Other ideas? 3. Why obey one’s code of ethics? 4. Why isn’t conscience enough? (Davis, 1991), (www.aerospaceweb.org/. ../q0122.shtml

5 The shuttle crashes seconds after take-off
Ask class to recount the events using slides 3 through 8 as prompts. I start by asking them who the players were. Talking about Lund and Mason gets them started in the discussion. Then, depending on my time constraints, I break them into groups and ask them to think about four question(listed on slide 9) or just start tackling those questions in an ongoing class discussion: What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Is this common notion that Davis paraphrases, true? 2. “Why do we have codes of ethics?” --What does Davis say? --Other ideas? 3. Why obey one’s code of ethics? 4. Why isn’t conscience enough? (Davis, 1991), (www.space-shuttle.com/ challeng.htm)

6 (Davis, 1991), image (grin.hq.nasa.gov/ BROWSE/JSC_13.html)
All 7 astronauts, including Krista McAuliffe -- the first civillian in space (2nd from left, back row), died. It’s a good idea to recall for the students’ benefit what an enormous public relations campaign was involved with this launch was because Krista McAuliffe was on the flight. Challenger Astronauts lost during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 (Top Row, L to R: Ellison Onizuka, Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judy Resnick. Bottom Row, L to R: Pilot Michael Smith, Cmdr. Dick Scobee, Ron McNair) (Davis, 1991), image (grin.hq.nasa.gov/ BROWSE/JSC_13.html)

7 Davis asks us to consider several questions.
What’s the difference between thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Why do we have codes of ethics? Why obey one’s code of ethics? Why isn’t conscience enough? If there’s time, I break them into groups and ask them to discuss these four questions for 5 to 10 minutes before we come back together and discuss them in a larger group. The group work allows more expression of ideas and gets them thinking about these issues before we talk about it as a class. If there isn’t enough time I just start tackling those questions in an ongoing class discussion: What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer? Is this common notion that Davis paraphrases, true? 2. “Why do we have codes of ethics?” --What does Davis say? --Other ideas? 3. Why obey one’s code of ethics? 4. Why isn’t conscience enough? What does Davis say? Other ideas? (Davis, 1991)

8 What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer?
Mason asked Lund to take off his engineer’s hat and put on his manager’s hat. I like to get students to think about those roles. What do they think is the difference in being a manager and in being an engineer. What does Davis think? At some point in the discussion the quote from Davis on the next slide will come up. hilton.org.uk/ obc.phtml?c=hostels photoalbum/Speakmon2003.htm (Davis, 1991)

9 What’s the difference in thinking like a manager and thinking like an engineer?
“Managers, it might be said, are trained to handle people; engineers, to handle things. To think like a manager rather than an engineer is to focus on people rather than on things.” This is a good quote to discuss because it brings up a prevalent stereotype of engineers which, like most stereotypes, is limiting. If no one in the class rebels against this stererotype, I encourage them to do so. Once they begin discussing the idea, someone will say that engineers do not care less about people than managers. This is the assertion that I want to come out. I want to bring the discussion to the conclusion that the engineers’ decision to postpone the launch would have served people much better than the manager’s decision. (Davis, 1991)

10 What is “thinking like an engineer”?
“to use one’s technical knowledge of things” Asking Lund to think like a manager was asking him to ignore his technical knowledge. Davis believes that an engineer’s technical training gives him or her a special ethical obligation. That simply by being an engineer you are obliged to use your knowledge. This means that engineers have more rather than less responsibility than a manager. (Davis, 1991)

11 Why do we have codes of ethics?
“a convention between professionals” “a guide to what engineers may reasonably expect of one another” “a guide to what engineers may expect other members of to profession to help each other do” This slide and the next are simply a summary of Davis’s main points. They can be used as prompts for discussion or as a straightforward summary of the reading. They lead up to the following slides showing the NSPE and ABET codes of conduct. (Davis, 1991)

12 Why obey one’s code? Protects professionals from certain pressures
Such as cutting corners By making it more likely that good conduct will not be punished Protects professionals from certain consequences of competition Legitimizes the profession These bullets are a summary of Davis’s points. The code is to protect each professional from certain pressures (for example, the pressure to cut corners to save money) by making it reasonably likely (and more likely than otherwise) that most other members of the profession will not take advantage of her good conduct. A code protects members of a profession from certain consequences of competition. (Davis, 1991)

13 National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics
. Fundamental Canons Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: 1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. 2. Perform services only in areas of their competence. 3. Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. 4. Act for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees. 5. Avoid deceptive acts. 6. Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession. (More extensive Rules of Practice follow in the Code) Students should have looked at this in preparation for class. I just want them to look at the fundamental canons and point out that most codes have similar rules. (Davis, 1991)

14 ABET Code of Ethics of Engineers The Fundamental Canons
1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties. 2. Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence. 3. Engineers shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. 4. Engineers shall act in professional matters for each employer or client as faithful agents or trustees, and shall avoid conflicts of interest. 5. Engineers shall build their professional reputation on the merit of their services and shall not compete unfairly with others. 6. Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the profession. 7. Engineers shall continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision. With this slide, I read the 1st three canons and point out how similar they are to the NSPE code.

15 What is the paramountcy principle?
NSPE Code of Ethics Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: 1. Hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. Here is the key issue in this lesson: the importance of an engineer’s ethical obligation to the public. It takes precedence over all other ethical obligations. ABET Code of Ethics for Engineers 1. Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.

16 Professional Codes of Ethics
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) All of these codes hold the public welfare as paramount. (Davis, 1991)

17 Why isn’t conscience enough?
What would it be like to be an engineer if “engineers did not generally hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public”? What if the client or employer would benefit from ignoring the code? What are some situations in which the engineer’s interests as an engineer conflict with his/her interests as a person? This is a good time to ask the class for comments. Most of my students believe that people’s moral compass is pretty much in place by the time they get in college and that lessons about ethics are not going to affect that. I want them to see that knowing what’s right not always that simple and doing what’s right rarely is. The code is to protect each professional from certain pressures (for example, the pressure to cut corners to save money) by making it reasonably likely (and more likely than otherwise) that most other members of the profession will resist those pressures, too. A code prevents the engineer from acting to serve His/her self-interest Her/his selfless devotion to employer’s self-interest (Davis, 1991)

18 What if Lund had insisted on cancelling the launch?
Would he have been a hero? What would have been the repercussions of his decision? This is a crucial question in the discussion. The answer to the first question is “No.” In all likelihood, Lund’s decision would have hurt his career and his employer. I think it’s important for students to realize that so that they can understand how difficult it can be to act ethically. (Davis, 1991)

19 Do engineers’ professional responsibilities go beyond the code?
Davis says “Yes.” In addition to following the code themselves, “[e]ngineers should [encourage] others to do as [the code] requires and by criticizing, ostracizing, or otherwise calling to account those who do not.” Davis’s argument is that the code of ethics serves and protects engineers, but only if engineers take it seriously and encourage (or even demand) that others in the profession do the same. (Davis, 1991)

20 Additional comments? (Davis, 1991)

21 What is the moral principle of Davis’s argument?
Fairness “Since Lund voluntarily accepts the benefits of being an engineer, he is morally obliged to follow the convention that helps to make those benefits possible.” This additional slide summarizes one of the important points in Davis’s argument. I have attached it here as an optional slide to be inserted between slide 18 and 19 if the instructor wants to cover the progression of the argument more thoroughly. (Davis, 1991)

22 What were Lund’s two ethical options?
“To either refuse to authorize the launch” “To insist that the astronauts be briefed in order to get their informed consent” This additional slide summarizes one of the important points in Davis’s argument. I have attached it here as an optional slide to be inserted between slide 18 and 19 if the instructor wants to cover the progression of the argument more thoroughly. (Davis, 1991)


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