A Classroom Discussion of Applied Ethics

Hatipkarasulu and Gunhan, 2012. “A Classroom Discussion of Applied Ethics.” American Society of Engineering Educators 2012 Annual Conference, Engineering Ethics Division. San Antonio, TX. AC - 3849.



Ethics, social responsibility, and trust are critical issues for all professions in the built environment including design, architecture, engineering and construction. Feedback from the industry representatives and practicing professionals often mention the increasing need for this subject. In the last two decades, professional degree programs in higher education placed a large emphasis on ethics education which is also an accreditation requirement for most programs. There are educational materials available for ethics education however, the discussions and study of these subjects are highly dependent on the instructor’s approach and perspective. In most cases, the students are presented with basic information and asked to review case studies without actively simulating the decision making process. This paper presents an example for classroom discussion on how to consistently apply ethical principles. This example has been tested in the classroom at several levels and, based on this experience, possible student reactions and tips on how to direct the discussion are included in the paper. The purpose is to present a detailed resource for educators for presentation and active discussion using a simple example that students can easily relate to. The example is built on a very simple question of whether the student would accept a job offer from a company under certain conditions.