Dr. Sochacka talked about using empathy to build embodied ethical understandings in engineering as part of a SEFI seminar Emotions and Ethics in Engineering Education

Dr. Sochacka talked about using empathy to build embodied ethical understandings in engineering as part of a SEFI seminar Emotions and Ethics in Engineering Education

Dr. Sochacka was one of three presenters to discuss connections between ethics and emotions in engineering education in an online seminar organized by the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). Building on George D. Catalano’s morally deep approach to engineering ethics and her and her colleagues’ own work on empathy in engineering, Dr. Sochacka described a series of activities she developed for her engineering in society course. These activities centered on a contemporary engineering case study, specifically the North Dakota Access Pipeline. Students were tasked with identifying an “integral community” associated with this case study and then each group of four students investigated one of the nine identified stakeholder groups’ perspectives. The groups then presented their findings and the class explored tensions between the needs of individual stakeholder groups and how to ensure the functioning of larger integral communities, such as the natural environment and oil infrastructure. Dr. Sochacka described the power of this empathic activity – 8 of the 9 student groups strongly sided with their stakeholder’s perspective. She also discussed the power of Catalano’s morally deep approach to engineering ethics. After a class discussion, students decided that a more ethical outcome would have been to build the pipeline but along a route that did not interfere with Native American Indian lands. Dr. Sochacka’s presentation was followed by Dr. Yesim Korkut from Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey, who discussed the need to consider nonrational factors in ethics education. The third and final presentation was led by Dr. Roland Tormey from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Dr. Johanna Lönngren from Umeå University in Sweden, who presented preliminary findings from their systematic review of emotions and ethics in engineering education research.

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