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Professional Societies: Social Responsibility and Sustainability. William E. Kelly, PhD, P.E. Manager Public Affairs, ASEE Mini-Conference Engineering towards a More Just and Sustainable world Cincinnati, Ohio March 6-7,2010. Overview. Brief history Education ABET

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Professional Societies: Social Responsibility and Sustainability

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Professional Societies: Social Responsibility and Sustainability

William E. Kelly, PhD, P.E.

Manager Public Affairs, ASEE

Mini-Conference Engineering towards a More Just and Sustainable world

Cincinnati, Ohio

March 6-7,2010


  • Brief history

  • Education

    • ABET

    • Education for professional practice

  • Professional Societies and Technical Organizations

  • ISO DIS on social responsibility

Brief History

Codes of ethics

Inclusion of sustainability in some codes

ABET Criteria

Individual society efforts on corruption, corporate social responsibility, sustainability

ABET Criteria

  • 3(c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability

  • 3(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

  • 3(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context

  • 4(c) a general education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program and institution objectives.

  • Curriculum – ABET flexibility

  • Creating a Culture

  • Co-Curricula activities e.g. EWB

  • Technical versus professional

  • Role of Engineering societies

  • Defining the practice of engineering

  • Codes of Ethics and Codes and standards define the practice of engineering

  • Social responsibility of individual engineers versus social responsibility of engineering societies see Layton

ASME is developing engineering approaches for developing countries

Other societies have similar activities underway


Societies are working together

This is one example

Another Example

ISO 26000 (DIS) Guidance on Social Responsibility

  • The aim of social responsibility is to contribute to sustainable development.

  • Sustainable development - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

  • NOTE Sustainable development is about integrating the goals of a high quality of life, health and prosperity with social justice and maintaining the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity. These social, economic and environmental goals are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Sustainable development can be treated as a way of expressing the broader expectations of society as a whole.

Summary Thoughts

  • Engineering Education-increase faculty involvement in professional education

  • Social responsibility of individual engineers-participate

  • Social responsibility of engineering societies-cooperate

  • Social responsibility of engineering profession -interact

Some Sources

  • Layton, E.T. (1986) The Revolt of the Engineers: Social Responsibility and the American Engineering Profession, Johns Hopkins Press

  • ABET Engineering Criteria

  • Sheppard, S. et al (2009)

  • ISO 26000 (DIS) (2009)

  • ILO Declaration on Social Justice

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