About Ethics Across Campus
The Ethics Across Campus (EAC) program at Colorado School of Mines serves as an umbrella for multiple ethics-related teaching, research, and outreach activities. As such, it seeks
- to promote, extend, and deepen the understanding of ethical issues in relation to applied science and engineering education and research;
- to coordinate ethics teaching, learning, and practice; and
- to serve as a consultative body and resource for any group or organization whose policies and/or procedures affect the ethical aspects of life at Mines.
History of Ethics Across Campus at Mines
Ethics Across Campus has been conceived of as a university – wide initiative that ventures beyond curriculum and into the campus culture itself. Although there are faculty who teach moral theory on the EAC committee, there are also administrative faculty, and faculty from STEM departments. Ethics is a feature of all our academic, professional and personal endeavors, so the committee and its activities represent the variety of ways that ethics interfaces with life at Mines. Although closely aligned with the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, EAC “belongs to” and serves the entire university community.
Ethics Across Campus originated with Dr. Arthur Sacks (HASS), Dr. Carl Mitcham (HASS), and Dr. Roel Snieder (Geophysics). In 2010 an ad hoc EAC committee was established, with the mission described above. Their vision—developing and promoting a commitment to ethics embedded in campus life writ large—continues to inform the way EAC operates.
Establishing a Campus Ethics Advisory Board
Over the last several years, Mines has laid a strong foundation in professional ethics education. To move forward we need insight and input from Mines alumni (industry professionals).
The Daniels Fund (DF) awarded Mines two grants, one for $68,000 (2016-2018) and another for $178,000 (2018-2020). The Daniels Fund earmarks monies for universities in the Rocky Mountain West that seek to improve their training in ethics, and more specifically, work to develop graduates who are good professionals and citizens. Bill Daniels was particularly intent on promoting ethics in business (e.g., the Daniels Business School at the University of Denver), so the vast majority of these awards have gone to business schools or departments. We are thrilled to have been included in their programming, and will be applying for a new grant in May, 2020.
The Daniels Fund evaluators have been very pleased with our efforts to incorporate ethics into the Mines curriculum—both in technical courses and non-technical courses. We have brought in experts in pedagogy, and started a lecture series on the ethics of emerging technologies. We have started a new Professional Ethics Library (in Stratton Hall) and are developing a collection of teaching strategies that any professor on campus can access.
We have established a sustained and visible professional ethics presence on campus, and are positioned to begin improving on this foundation. To that end, we propose an “Advisory Board” of professional engineers and scientists to help us better prepare our students for the ethical challenges they may face. It’s one thing to learn about a theory, but another to deal with the realities of professional life. As academics, we need help with this side of the equation.
Mines has in place an Ethics Across Campus Committee (EAC), consisting of faculty and administrators, and is recruiting one undergraduate and one graduate student to become members. A new Campus Ethics Advisory Board would
1. consist of 3 – 5 alumni and/or other professionals, willing to meet with the Committee (or individual committee members) one-two times/semester for the next two years. (Teleconferencing is an option.) Appointments would be for 2-years, although any board member could stay on for three.
2. share insights about these sorts of questions:
– Reflecting on your academic and professional experience, what were gaps in your education? What do you wish you had known that you know now?
– What might be good strategies to close those gaps?
– Are there “typical” ethical issues common to industry? Are there issues particular to certain professions or locations (e.g., USA vs. international)?
– Are there “new” ethical considerations that are emerging?
– How can we help bridge the gap between college and career?
Impediments to behaving ethically, personally and/or professionally?
3. would help Mines raise its profile in terms of social responsibility and professionalism.
4. would help us identify and bring in speakers from industry, potentially collaborating with EAC to organize panel discussions or other
5. would help determine the viability of an Ethics Certificate for undergraduates.
EAC Advisory Board Members
2020-21 Advisory Board
Robert Brandin, ’08, senior software engineer
Patty Corbetta environmental consultant & project manager, Burns & McDonnell
Mark Hamouz, ’79 civil engineering
Don Mayer, Professor of the Practice of Business Ethics & Legal Studies at Daniels College of Business, University of Denver