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  • 1.  Ethics Discussion

    Posted 01-29-2017 09:28 PM
    I have enjoyed the discussion regarding the (hypothetical?) engineering ethics case initially posted by Professor Starrett.  As one who occasionally teaches engineering ethics, I use case studies.  I would very much appreciate ASCE making this case and the ensuing discussions available for use in the classroom.

    J Richard Weggel Ph.D., P.E., D.CE, F.ASCE
    Professor Emeritus
    Jenkintown PA

  • 2.  RE: Ethics Discussion

    Posted 01-30-2017 03:49 PM
    I would like to thank Dr. Starrett for initiating a much needed discussion on ethics as well as the comments provided by others.

    Dr. Starrett and I, along with others, teach an ethics course at the EWRI annual conferences and the course(s) include such situations in the discussions of "proper" behavior" when confronted with an ethics dilemma.  I cannot speak for Dr. Starrett, but I am willing to email my PPT on the course if you are interested.  However, remember that it is designed to be a face to face presentation and much information would be lost just reading the PPT.  I have presented this PPT to entities such as the Floodplain Management Association, International Erosion Control Association, Orange, Ventura and LA Counties, City of Dallas, and ASCE sections to name a few.  

    My email is david@....  

    David Williams Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, HG, F.EWRI, F.ASCE
    David T. Williams and Assoc.
    Commerce City CO

  • 3.  RE: Ethics Discussion

    Posted 01-31-2017 05:01 PM

    I have joined in this conversation by mistakenly starting a separate page from the main thread of discussions where it all started. In the previous piece, I tried to highlight how the ethics dilemma could result from the constraints caused by the lack of a suitable organizational framework of working relationship. Thought of adding a little more in this page started by Prof. Weggel.   

    Ethical codes written by various professional bodies and licensing authorities are fundamentally the same. They all say to take professional ownership of the work an individual performs to safeguard the interests of those one serves – the public, the client, the employer and the environment. They all stress on the professional fairness, faithfulness, competence, honesty and integrity. If one compares deeply, engineering ethical codes are no different than the codes of other non-engineering ethics. These are all parts of decent behaviors expected of the members of a civil society – but like all codes and laws, they are subjected to interpretations, arguments and counter-arguments.

    It seems the relationship between the supervisor and the supervised in the context of EIT training is not exclusively mentioned in any code. In the 7th canon of the ASCE ethics code, it says, “. . . shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision.” This can also be found in different flavors in other codes, for example in the 6th and 7th codes of APEGBC (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia).

    One can analyze the Rachael dilemma from a completely different perspective. A teacher earns the right to grade, examine and pass comment on students because he or she teaches them. Because the fate of an EIT depends on the comments of his or her supervisor (a competent one!), one can argue that it is only imperative the supervisor earns it.



    Dr. Dilip Barua, Ph.D, P.Eng, M. ASCE
    Consultant - Coastal, Port and Marine Engineering
    Vancouver, Canada