a view from puerto rico by william j frey l.
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A view from Puerto Rico by William J. Frey. ABET Criterion 3f: 10 Years Later. Interdisciplinary, Co-Integration Strategy: 1. Ethics into BSE (Business, Science, Engineering) 2. BSE into Ethics. Setting the stage for EC2000 at UPRM. Faculty Development Retreats in EAC (1998, 1999, 2000)

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a view from puerto rico by william j frey
William J. Frey, College of Business Administration, University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

A view from Puerto Rico


William J. Frey

ABET Criterion 3f: 10 Years Later

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Interdisciplinary, Co-Integration Strategy:

1. Ethics into BSE (Business, Science, Engineering)

2. BSE into Ethics

Setting the stage for EC2000 at UPRM

nsf grant

Faculty Development Retreats in EAC (1998, 1999, 2000)

    • Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program in Ethics for Business, Science, and Engineering in the Puerto Rican Context (SBR 9810253)
    • Based on co-integration strategy:
      • Ethics into BSE and BSE into Ethics
  • Generated cases, modules and expertise in EAC from BSE standpoints

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

NSF Grant
teaching engineering ethics skills

Mini cases provide decision points that allow students to practice decision-making

    • Ethics tests (reversibility, harm, publicity) encapsulate ethical theory
  • Students write codes of ethics to help them critically encounter professional codes
  • An Engineering Ethics Bowl helps students develop understanding of basic and intermediate moral concepts
    • UPRM cases
    • BER cases involving “code concepts” grounded in relations to public, client, profession, peer

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

teaching Engineering Ethics skills
advances in moral psychology

Moral exemplars studies in computing have revealed that…

  • more focus can be given to teaching skills of moral expertise
  • Hastings Center
    • Stimulate moral imagination.
    • Recognizing moral issues.
    • Analyzing basic and intermediate moral concepts.
    • Eliciting a sense of responsibility.
    • Dealing with moral ambiguity and disagreement.

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Advances in moral psychology
high point eac pilot program

Design pilot at graduate level, then integrate into undergraduate education

  • NSF Grant: Graduate Education in Research Ethics for Scientists and Engineers (SES 0629377)
      • workshop series to generate awareness and teach a moral deliberation procedure
      • free standing course in research ethics
      • faculty development workshops to generate awareness and teaching materials
      • outreach program to K-12 students (with graduate student ethics mentors)

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

High Point: EAC pilot program
abet 3f round one 2001 2002


    • 6 faculty development workshops for engineering faculty
    • 2 modules for ECE
    • Ethics “interventions” in Mechanical Engineering
    • Generate EAC resources (cases, modules, activities)
    • 3 NSF Grants

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

ABET 3f: Round One (2001-2002)
a successful failure good results little recognition

Mistake to tie engineering ethics to ABET process

    • Engineering Ethics not important to self evaluation and overall program
    • No feedback from ABET evaluators on ethics integration activities
  • Bottom Line: Ethics response appeared in excess of what was required
    • You can get by with less next time

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

a Successful Failure (good results, little recognition)
unexpected outcomes

Assessment Filtering Effect

    • Assessment zeros in on content especially amenable to quantitative measurement and program-wide implementation
  • What was filtered (=left out)
    • Standalone course
    • Code writing activities
    • Engineering Ethics Bowl Debates
    • Interdisciplinary faculty retreats and workshops + materials (=cases modules)

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Unexpected outcomes
new strategy concentrate soft skills

UPRM engineering school created SEGI to collect “soft” skills found in 3, a-k

    • SEGI = Social, ethical, global impacts of engineering
    • History of engineering and technology
    • Sustainable energy development
    • Community projects (without ethical reflection)
  • Old style AACSB:
    • Collect ethics, social, historical, legal, etc “components” into standalone course

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

New strategy: Concentrate “soft” skills
interdisciplinary reinterpreted
William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Engineering ethics integrated with other “soft” disciplines

3c—Ethics (and other components) in Design

3d—Multidisciplinary Team Skills

3f—Professional ethical responsibility

3h—Global and Social Impacts

There are still two separate worlds: Engineering vs. Social/Humanistic

Interdisciplinary reinterpreted

de emphasis of eac

Discontinued Faculty Development Workshops

    • Faculty complained of “workshop saturation”
  • Engineering Ethics telescoped into 2 modules for ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
    • Two basic ethical approaches (deontology and utilitarianism)
    • Primer on CIAPR code of ethics
  • 2 modules for senior capstone design class in Mechanical Engineering
    • “Ethical Awareness Module” (as with ECE)
    • “Being an Ethical Job Candidate”

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

De-emphasis of EAC
an alarming trend

Decline in ethical awareness over 15 years

    • Is it ethical to accept several job offers and choose only the best one?
    • Is it ethical to lie about one’s GPA on a job application in order to get an interview?
    • Is it really necessary to cancel a job interview if you are no longer interested in the position?
  • Module reveals an “awareness gap” that is not touched upon in engineering curriculum

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

An alarming trend
different concerns 10 years ago

Should I consider a job in a company with defense contracts?

Is the CIAPR sensitive to the macro and micro ethical issues facing engineers?

Is it necessary to become “colegiado” to practice (good) engineering?

What should be done about the engineering brain drain in Puerto Rico?

Students lack basic decision making skills and seem unaware of macro ethical issues discussed by students 10 years ago

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Different Concerns 10 years ago
William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

An Imperative: Collect and preserve the best practices of the last 30 years of Engineering Ethics Education

Back to the Drawing Board

supporting eac efforts

NSF Grant: EAC Toolkit (2006-2009)

    • “Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices” (SES 0551779)
    • Online repository of modules and resources in EAC for faculty in professional and occupational areas
  • Toolkit built on Rice University’s Connexions® knowledge sharing / open education platform
    • Currently studying how CNX platform has shaped and channeled Toolkit concept

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Supporting EAC efforts
visual toolkit over different platforms


  • Blog (www.eactoolkit.com)
  • Web-CT/Blackboard
  • Connexions®
    • XML language
    • Creative Commons Attribution License
    • Content Commons
    • Work Groups
    • Lenses
  • How would values embedded in these platforms shape the Toolkit concept and promote the development of an EAC community?

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Visual Toolkit over different platforms
toolkit motivates independently of accreditation

Risks of tying EAC to assessment and accreditation

  • Alternative: voluntary, interdisciplinary EAC community committed to identifying and sharing resources and best practices
  • Adding value to workshops, retreats, and conferences by creating virtual collaborative spaces and EAC resources commons
  • Working toward the three C’s:
    • Collaboration, Continuity, Community

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Toolkit motivates independently of accreditation
pedagogical approaches haws

professional codes

humanistic readings

engineering ethics cases

theoretical groundings

ethical heuristics

service learning

Haws, D. (2004). “The Importance of Meta-Ethics in Engineering Education.” Science and Engineering Ethics, 10(2): 204-210.

 Haws, D. (2001) “Ethics Instruction in Engineering Education: A (Mini) Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Engineering Education. April: 223-229.

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Pedagogical approaches (Haws)
engineering modules in connexions

Engineering Ethics Modules for EAC

    • Col10552
  • Four Years, Four Micro Interventions
    • Ethical Implications for Engineering – Student Module (m17226)
    • Socio-Technical Systems in Professional Decision Making (m14025)
    • Three Frameworks for Ethical Decision Making and Good Computing Reports (m13757)
    • Professional Ethics in Puerto Rico: Codes, Problem-Solving, and Ethical Dissent (m15501)
    • Theory Building Exercise: Responsibility and Incident at Morales (m15627)

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Engineering Modules in Connexions®
eac pilot program in engineering ethics

Modeled on GERESE grant

  • Targets Hastings skills
    • Moral imagination, moral awareness, analyzing moral concepts, eliciting a sense of responsibility, and dealing with ambiguity and disagreement
  • Also Targets (and integrates)…
    • 3c (ethics in design)
    • 3d (multi-disciplinary team skills)
    • 3f (professional and ethical responsibility)
    • 3h (social and global impacts)

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

EAC Pilot Program in Engineering ethics
conclusion successful failure


    • Skills based freestanding course in Engineering Ethics
    • EAC modules in engineering ethics for first and fourth year students
    • Successful faculty development workshop format
  • Failures
    • Tying EAC too closely to ABET
    • Assessment procedures filter out innovative practices
  • Virtual Toolkit to create community to develops and share EAC best practices
    • Challenges with open source and open education approaches

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

Conclusion: Successful Failure
William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM

William J. Frey

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

College of Business Administration


Thank you


Huff, C., & Frey, William. (2005) “Moral Pedagogy and Practical Ethics.” Science and Engineeirng Ethics, 11(3): 389-408. 

Huff, C., Barnard, L., & Frey, W. (2008). “Good computing: a pedagogically focused model of virtue in the practice of computing (part 1),” Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society6(3): 246-278. 

Huff, C., Barnard, L., & Frey, W. (2008). “Good computing: a pedagogically focused model of virtue in the practice of computing (part 2),” Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society6(4).

Frey, W. and O’Neill-Carillo, E. (2008), “Engineering ethics in Puerto Rico: issues and narratives”, Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 417-31.

Lugo, E. (1985). Etica Profesional Para La Ingenieria. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico: Libreria Universal.

Munoz-Roman, W. (1997). Etica en la PracticaProfesional de la Ingenierıa: AspectosFilosoficos, Historicos y Procesales. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico. (Co-sponsored by the Universidad Politecnica de Puerto Rico).

William J. Frey, CBA, UPRM