The University of Kansas Initiative in Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (KUI-EESE)

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

KU-EESE had three primary objectives:

  1. To enhance instruction in ethics in the STEM disciplines through development of stand-alone courses in scientific ethics and support for faculty development of ethics modules embedded in field-specific courses.
  2. To disseminate approaches to ethics instruction through the documentation of both the stand-alone and embedded ethics modules using on-line course portfolios that included both relevant assignments and sample student work.
  3. To assess of the relative impact of standard graduate-level exposure to ethical concepts, enrollment in stand-alone ethics courses, and enrollment in courses incorporating embedded ethics modules.
Setting: 

The project was located at the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is cross-sectional and comparative. The project is designed to generate evidence that is associative/correlational [quasi-experimental] and causal [quasi-experimental]. The project also collects original data using assessments of learning [achievement tests] and survey research [self-completion questionnaire].

Analysis plans include a regression analysis of the impacts of different instructional approaches on a variety of outcomes constructed from the two instruments used in the study, i.e. the Vanderbilt University Medical College Responsible Conduct of Research Test and the Defining Issues Test.

Findings: 

Analysis of primary effects of different instructional approaches indicates that relative to the case of no formal ethics training both stand alone ethics instruction and embedded ethics modules have some impact on student attitudes, and perception, but not knowledge of RCR, and that there is no statistically significant difference between the two instructional approaches.

Other Products: 

The project will produce course portfolios describing specific approaches to incorporating instructional in ethical reasoning, along with sample student work.