Workshop on Assessing Ethics Education in Science and Engineering

In March, 2019, we received funding from the National Science Foundation to run a workshop on the assessment of ethics education interventions in science and engineering (NSF Award #1835276). The PI is J. Britt Holbrook (New Jersey Institute of Technology), and the Co-PIs are Adam Briggle (University of North Texas), Michael Hoffmann (Georgia Tech), and Michael O’Rourke (Michigan State University).


Much remains to be learned about how ethics education for scientists and engineers can be effective. Workshop participants will formulate a set of research questions for advancing the assessment of ethics training initiatives and then meet to answer these questions and advance collective understanding and practice related to ethics training assessments. Workshop results will contribute to developing a more robust evidence base for improving ethical sensitivity, clarifying ethical decision making, and fostering cultures of research integrity.

The main question of the workshop is: How can we assess the efficacy and efficiency of different types of ethics education interventions? Since any assessment needs to be clear about the purpose of the ethical interventions and the skills to be measured, we also need to ask what goals should be pursued by the interventions and which skills we want to foster in ethics education. Workshop participants will collaborate to answer these questions and increase our ability to build and fairly assess next generation interventions for promoting research ethics. Results will be disseminated via conference proceedings and publications, while tools and assessment rubrics will be shared through The Online Ethics Center.

Workshop Date and Location

The workshop will be held on August 8th and 9th, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The venue will be the DC office of Arizona State University’s Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) at 1800 I St NW, Washington, DC 20006.



Workshop Agenda (Draft)

Day One

Each session on Day One will begin with a 15 minute presentation by the PIs devoted to the first 4 of the major questions we plan to address. These presentations will provide a structured start to a roundtable discussion involving all workshop participants. The last half-hour of each session will be devoted to an open discussion with audience members. Finally, a session reporter will conclude each session by summing up the main points of discussion and collect suggestions for further collaborative problem solving.

8:00 A.M. – 8:30 A.M. Coffee and muffins

8:30 A.M. – 9:00 A.M. Introduction (to the workshop, by Holbrook) and Introductions


9:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. Session I: Goals of Ethics Education

9:00 A.M. – 9:15 A.M Brief presentation by Briggle: “The Goals of STEM Ethics Education”

9:15 A.M. – 9:55 A.M. Roundtable Discussion

9:55 A. M. – 10:25 A.M. Open Discussion with Audience

10:25 A.M – 10:30 A.M. Reporting (Holbrook)

10:30 A.M. – 10:45 A.M BREAK


10:45 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. Session II: Knowing and Acting Ethically

10:45 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. Brief presentation by Holbrook: “Assessing Ethical Decision-Making”

11:00 A.M. – 11:40 A.M. Roundtable Discussion

11:40 A.M. – 12:10 P.M. Open Discussion with Audience

12:10 P.M. – 12:15 P.M. Reporting (Hoffman)


12:15 P.M. – 1:15 P.M. LUNCH


1:15 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. Session III: Ethical Sensitivity, Behavior, and Skills

1:15 P.M. – 1:30 P.M. Brief presentation by Hoffmann: “On Measuring Ethical Sensitivity, Reasoning, Behavior, Decision Making, and Skills”

1:30 P.M. – 2:10 P.M. Roundtable Discussion

2:10 P.M. – 2:40 P.M. Open Discussion with Audience

2:40 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. Reporting (O’Rourke)


2:45 P.M – 3:00 P.M. BREAK


3:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. Session IV: Ethics Education on Multiple Scales

3:00 P.M. – 3:15 P.M. O’Rourke: “Cultivating Cultures of Ethical STEM” Roundtable Discussion

3:15 P.M. – 3:55 P.M. Roundtable Discussion

3:55 P.M – 4:25 P.M. Open Discussion with Audience

4:25 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. Reporting (Briggle)


4:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. Concluding Day One, Moving Forward (Holbrook)


Day Two

Day Two will be a semi-structured conversation on the ultimate question the workshop aims to address: How could instruments be designed to measure ethics skills, levels of knowledge, and interventions that foster a culture of integrity? After an introductory group discussion, participants will break out into smaller groups that combine ethics educators with assessment experts, with the goal of beginning to develop novel instruments to assess ethics education interventions.

8:00 A.M. – 8:30 A.M. Coffee and muffins


8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Session V

8:30 A.M. – 8:45 A.M. Introduction to Day Two (Holbrook)

8:45 A.M. – 9:15 A.M. Roundtable Discussion

9:15 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. Open Discussion


9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. Break-out Sessions

9:30 A.M – 11:00 A.M. Break into groups & discuss

11:00 A.M. – 12:00 A.M. Groups reconvene and report out


12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M. LUNCH


1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Break-out Sessions

1:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. Break into groups

2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Groups reconvene and report out


3:00 P.M. – 3:30 P.M. Concluding Remarks (Holbrook)


Workshop Participants (in alphabetical order)

Wenda Bauchspies, co-director for international research and engagement for the Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen), Michigan State University. Dr. Bauchspies is an interdisciplinary and international social scientist whose expertise lies in the integration of gender, social justice, and culture with agricultural research and technological adaptation. Focusing on West Africa, her interdisciplinary work has supported the advancement agricultural policies that assist smallholder farmers in the region and addresses the global issue of food security. Bauchspies was formerly program director for Science, Technology & Society and Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM at the National Science Foundation.

Jonathan Beever is Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and the Texts & Technology Ph.D. Program at the University of Central Florida. He previously held postdoctoral appointments in ethics at Penn State and Purdue University. Beever works at the intersection of environmental ethics and bioethics. Areas of interest include ethics of biotechnologies, bioethics, public and ecological health ethics, digital ethics, research ethics, and questions of patient autonomy and agency.

Cara Biasucci received her M.F.A. in Film & Video Production from UT Austin, and B.A. in philosophy magna cum laude from Bowdoin College. Biasucci came to Austin in 2011 to create and produce Ethics Unwrapped. She is a filmmaker, author, and educational designer. Her documentaries have been supported by, among others, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Engender Health, and Women in Film. Cara has written, produced, directed, and edited films for a wide range of clients including Discovery Times, American Public Television, HGTV, Johns Hopkins Medicine, New England Patriots, and the National Gallery of Art.

Jason Borenstein, Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs and Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  His appointment is divided between the School of Public Policy and the Office of Graduate Studies.   He is also Affiliated Faculty at the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM). Together with Kirkman and others, Borenstein created the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT), an instrument to assess moral judgment (Borenstein et al. 2010). Dr. Borenstein is the Founder and formerly Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law.  He is an assistant editor of the journal Science and Engineering Ethics, co-editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s Ethics and Information Technology section, and an editorial board member of the journal Accountability in Research.  He is also Editor for Research Ethics for the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science. Dr. Borenstein’s research interests include bioethics, engineering ethics, robot ethics, and research ethics. He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on a five year project funded by the National Science Foundation entitled “Institutional Transformation: The Role of Service Learning and Community Engagement on the Ethical Development of STEM Students and Campus Culture”. His work has appeared in numerous professional journals including AI & Society, Communications of the ACM, Science and Engineering Ethics, the Journal of Academic Ethics, Ethics and Information Technology, IEEE Technology & Society, Accountability in Research, and the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review.

Adam Briggle, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas. Briggle holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and works as a “field philosopher” on real-world problems at the intersection of science, technology, ethics, and politics. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Twente on a NWO grant from the Dutch government to study the ethical implications of new social media. He has since focused his research on fracking and energy issues, especially related to the environment. He is the author of A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking and, with Robert Frodeman, Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy.

Richard Cimino,  Senior Lecturer in the Otto H. York Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering from the Rutgers University, with a focus in adsorption science and the characterization of porous materials. His research interests include engineering ethics and process safety, and broadening inclusivity in engineering, especially among the LGBTQ+ community. His previous funded research has explored the effects of implicit bias on ethical decision making in the engineering classroom.

Michael Hoffmann, Associate Professor for Philosophy in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, Director of the Philosophy Program, Co-Director of the Center for Ethics and Technology, and Principal Investigator of the NSF-supported Cyberlearning project “Fostering self-correcting reasoning with reflection systems.” The project develops the Reflect! platform which is designed to organize reflective consensus building on wicked problems in small teams ( The platform is used in engineering ethics education in projects that focus on problems connected to emerging technologies. The ethical challenge is here to identify and take into account those who might be negatively affected by a technology. Hoffmann developed the Critical and Ethical Thinking Skills Assessment (CETSA) and the Self-correcting Reasoning Assessment (SecRA).

J. Britt Holbrook, Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He holds a PhD in philosophy (2004). His research combines topics relevant to contemporary science policy (open science, open access, altmetrics, broader impacts requirements for grants) and of perennial concern (ethics education, peer review, academic freedom, the role of the university in society). Holbrook served on the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility from 2012 – 2018 and as a member of the European Commission Expert Group on Indicators for Open Science in 2019.

Don Howard, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, is the former director and a Fellow of the University of Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, where he now functions as co-director of the center’s ethics of emerging technologies focus area. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Past Chair of APS’s Forum on the History of Physics, and current Chair of its Committee on International Freedom of Scientists, Howard is an internationally recognized expert on the history and philosophy of modern physics, especially the work of Einstein and Bohr. Howard has been writing and teaching about the ethics of science and technology for many years. Howard has led NSF-funded workshops on science and ethics at Notre Dame for physics REU students and is currently the lead PI on an NSF-EESE research ethics grant.

Brent Jesiek, Associate Professor with joint appointments in the School of Engineering Education and School of Electrical Engineering at Purdue University. He also serves as chair of the graduate program in the School of Engineering Education, leads the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and serves as a co-editor for the Online Journal for Global Engineering Education. Jesiek is part of a team that developed the Situational Judgment Test (SJT) on global engineering competency (Jesiek et al. 2013). Prof. Jesiek holds an NSF CAREER award and has been formally recognized for excellence in his teaching and mentoring activities at Purdue​. Prof. Jesiek draws on expertise from engineering, computing, and the social sciences to investigate geographic, disciplinary, and historical variations in engineering education and professional practice. His current research portfolio includes studies focused on global competency and boundary spanning in engineering practice, perceptions of ethics and social responsibility among undergraduate engineering students, and the history of electrical and computer engineering education. He primarily identifies with qualitative research traditions, but has also carried out studies using quantitative and mixed methods approaches.

Robert Kirkman, Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His current focus is on the design, implementation and assessment of innovative approaches to teaching practical ethics, including problem-based learning, the integration of ethics and design and the use of interactive narrative. Together with Borenstein and others, he developed the Engineering and Science Issues Test (ESIT), an instrument to assess moral judgment (Borenstein et al. 2010). His prior work in environmental ethics examined the values in play in decisions about the built environment, especially in cities and suburbs in the United States. He is the author of The Ethics of Metropolitan Growth: The Future of our Built Environment (Continuum, 2010) and Skeptical Environmentalism: The Limits of Philosophy and Science (Indiana University Press, 2002).

Yongmou Liu, Professor in the School of Philosophy, Remin University of China. He has been a visiting scholar in the Department of Science History at Harvard University (2010-2011) and a visiting professor in the Department of Philosophy at Utrecht University (2015). He is the chief director of the Division Committee Youth Researchers Society for Natural Dialectics of China, and the director of the Society for Natural Dialectics of Beijing. His work focuses on philosophy of science and technology, issues in Science, Technology and Society (STS), and Science, Technology and Public Policy (STPP). He is the author of 12 books and over 60 articles.

Chet McLeskey, Postdoctoral Fellow, Michigan State University. McLeskey holds a PhD in Philosophy and works primarily on research ethics, virtue theory, and the epistemic and psychological aspects of ethical decision making. Currently, Chet works in the Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University, where he is using the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative’s model to develop Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training workshops within a virtue-theoretic framework. As part of this effort, Chet is working on ways to assess the success of ethics training by combining quantitative and qualitative components into a comprehensive evaluation of a given program.

Glen Miller, Instructional Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University. Miller’s current research triangulates the history of philosophy, especially ethics and political philosophy, and two emerging areas of ethical concern, the environment and technology. He regularly teaches a large course on engineering ethics and investigates issues in applied, practical, and professional ethics, including bioethics and cyberethics.

Jess Miner, Executive Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Edmond J. Safra Research Director, ex officio. As Executive Director, Jess will continue to have responsibility for the center’s research agenda as well as oversight of the team managing the Center’s fellowships and programs. She will continue to oversee the development and expansion of our initiatives, including the Innovation in Ethics Education Initiative and the Emergent Trends in Teaching and Learning Ethics at Harvard (ETTLE, part of the National Ethics Project). Jess is a Classicist with primary interests in ancient Greek oratory and comedy, higher education administration, and practical ethics pedagogy. Prior to joining the Center in 2015, she spent five years implementing an ethics across the curriculum program at The University of Texas at Austin.

Deborah S. Mower, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hume Bryant Associate Professor of Ethics and an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mississippi. She specializes in moral psychology, applied ethics and public policy, and moral education. She is currently a Board Member for PLATO and is the recent past President of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum. She published two co-edited volumes [Civility in Politics and Education (2012) and Developing Moral Sensitivity (2015)] and co-directed a 2016 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Moral Psychology and Education.

Megan O’Neill, Assistant Professor & Faculty Coordinator of First Year Writing, Department of Humanities, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Dr. O’Neill uses her training in Writing and Rhetoric to examine how the theories and practices of Writing Studies can effect meaningful pedagogical change at STEM institutions. O’Neill has vast experience in both educational program design and assessment, with particular focus on STEM education.

Michael O’Rourke, Professor of Philosophy and faculty in AgBioResearch and Environmental Science & Policy at Michigan State University. He is Interim Director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity ( and Director of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, an NSF-sponsored research initiative that investigates philosophical approaches to facilitating interdisciplinary research ( His research interests include epistemology, communication and epistemic integration in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, and linguistic communication between intelligent agents. He has been PI of an NSF-sponsored Ethics Education in Science and Engineering project that included an evaluation component.

Zachary Pirtle, Program Integration Engineer at NASA headquarters and academic researcher. Pirtle holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, B.A. in Philosophy, and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from Arizona State University. While at ASU he did research with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. He is currently finishing his PhD in Systems Engineering at George Washington University. Previously, he studied in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar (2008); and served as a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academy of Engineering (2009). All of his publications are listed on google scholar.  His work at NASA supports integration for the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft and associated ground systems. He is also actively involved with fPET, the Forum on Philosophy, Engineering and Technology.

Zachary Piso, Assistant Professor of philosophy at University of Dayton. His current research investigates the use of social science in environmental science, management, and policy. In particular he is interested in the values implicit to social-ecological systems science, values that inform and potentially legitimate, for instance, relying on particular social sciences (e.g. anthropology or institutional economics) rather than others. The upshot of these investigations is to articulate procedures for stakeholder engagement through which the language and practices of human dimensions research is criticized and legitimated.

Maggie Schein, educator, ethicist (moral psychology), and author of both fiction and non-fiction. She is currently the Writer in Residence at the Prindle Institute for Ethics, a position supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Fredrick Scholar fund. In that role, she is completing a book about cruelty and humanity that is hopefully both useful and provocative. During her tenure at Prindle, she will also consult on moral development curricula and assessment tools, corporate management strategies, and will maintain a consulting role with the Democratic Knowledge Project at Harvard (where she was the Research Director for the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Lab, 2012-2019). She is a member of the advisory programming board for the Pat Conroy Literary Center and is a Coordinating Principle Investigator and interim Chief Administrative Officer for the National Ethics Project (NEP). She is most interested in conversations that bridge philosophy, psychology, literature/story-telling, naturalistic virtue ethics, and environmental and non-human welfare.

Nancy Tuana, Dupont/Class of 1949 Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University, was the founding director of Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute. She is a philosopher of science and feminist science studies theorist who specializes in issues of ethics and science. Dr. Tuana is part of an interdisciplinary research team at Penn State that has developed a more robust model of research ethics to more adequately reflect the impacts of ethical issues in scientific practice. Her research includes coupled ethical-epistemic issues in the field of climate science. In this domain, she Co-PI of the NSF Sustainability Research Network on Sustainable Climate Risk Management and Co-PI of the NSF funded grant Visualizing Forest Futures. Dr. Tuana has also been PI of two EESE projects. In addition, she is engaged in research on justice issues in the context of climate change and is author of a number of articles on the topic of gender and climate change.

Sean Valles is Associate Professor with an appointment in the Michigan State University Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy. His research spans a range of topics in the philosophy of population health, from the use of evidence in medical genetics to the roles played by race concepts in epidemiology. He is author of the the 2018 book, Philosophy of Population Health: Philosophy for a New Public Health Era. He is also Director of the MSU Science and Society @ State internal grant program, supporting interdisciplinary faculty collaborations that join the humanities, arts, and sciences.

Qin Zhu, Research Assistant Professor in the Ethics Across Campus Program and the Division of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at Colorado School of Mines.  Zhu is managing the Daniels Fund Program in Professional Ethics Education, which provides scholarly and grant support for faculty to integrate ethics into applied science and engineering curricula and serving as a graduate faculty member in the Master’s Program in Natural Resources and Energy Policy at Mines. Zhu is also Associate Editor for International Perspectives at the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science.