“I would definitely say it is something that is brought up enough that you are aware of the issues when you are talking about engineering problems,” Angelini said.
Not all students feel the same though. Chris Woodruff, a University of Maryland senior in the same civil engineering program as Angelini, said he thinks there is room for improvement in the engineering curriculum when it comes to learning about ethics in engineering.
“If you’re talking about social welfare issues, such as if we should focus on building things for other countries, there is not a huge focus on it,” Woodruff said. “There are things like Engineers Without Borders to get involved in, but I think the curriculum itself is not necessarily focused on that.”
Despite the seemingly negative results of the Cech’s study, she said she has received positive feedback from both engineering students as well as professors from engineering schools.
“Schools are feeling a crunch to get more and more technical material in and that tends to leave even less room for teaching ethics in the classroom,” Cech said. “I’ve had professors say they noticed the problem but didn’t have a way of talking about it.”
The challenge in engineering education, Woodruff believes, is that problems rarely have a clear answer, and it is hard to say which course of action would be the best approach.