Exploring Perceptions of Social Responsibility in Engineering Students Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/z890rw23x

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  • Incoming and graduating engineering students in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University were surveyed in order to assess awareness and integration of social responsibilities into their emerging professional persona and how those views are informed by program and faculty interactions. Preliminary analysis of responses indicate that student perceptions of social responsibility may vary with academic progress and discipline. Questions were grouped into scales and analyzed for reliability in SPSS using the Cronbach’s alpha score. A reliable scale for professional responsibility was identified in both incoming and graduating students and a reliable depoliticization scale was identified in graduating students only. Graduating students in bioengineering rejected elements of meritocracy, attributed in part to completing discipline-specific coursework focused on deconstructing power, privilege and oppression in society and within engineering. Graduating students in all disciplines were less likely to identify a professional responsibility as an engineer to design accessible and inexpensive products, perhaps a result of the for-profit corporate job market most engineers will enter. Further quantitative analysis of the data set is recommended to identify correlations between demographic variables and social responsibility perceptions. This should be complimented by recording qualitative focus group data which could provide further insight into how students understand social responsibility.
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