Educating Engineers Under a Social Justice Perspective

Patricia P. Jiménez, Jimena Pascual, Andrés Mejía

Abstract


Although the need for an engineering education oriented to public welfare and social justice has been acknowledged for many years, the efforts to put it in practice seem insufficient and a culture of disengagement still appears dominant. The aim of this article is twofold: (1) to examine beliefs and motivations of university faculty towards the social responsibility of engineers, and (2) to develop pedagogical principles to deal with the culture of disengagement in engineering. A survey-based quantitative study was conducted among faculty from a university in Chile. A factor analysis revealed two dimensions of social justice in their conceptions, with significantly higher scores for the first one: environmental/ethical versus public/community. Additionally, faculty value less the humanities and social sciences than other non-technical topics in the curriculum. Results, for this university, confirm the prevailing cultural features reported elsewhere. Some guidelines to counteract the cultural pillars of disengagement are based on critical thinking, context-based learning or situated practice, and interdisciplinary learning. These are illustrated in a course on Systems Simulation.

Keywords


engineering education, engineering ethics, social justice, simulation modeling

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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