Engineering Ethics & Professionalism

Part 1.  [7 pts]  Learning professional views of ethical behavior.
Visit the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) website.
Read the code of ethics.
  Summarize each of the seven Fundamental Canons, in your own words
Part 2. [32 pts] Go to each of the following two cases on the Ethics Center for Engineering and Research website from the NAE and answer the questions provided with each case.
To “solve” these case study homework problems, you must be willing to tolerate some uncertainty in making difficult moral judgments….and be able to adequately express and defend your views. 

  • Cite between 3 to 5 relevant guidelines and/or canons (with the code, number and letter; for example, “per ASCE code 1d”; can use sub-parts) {10 pts each case}; the “Original Case and BER judgment” can be used to help
  • Discuss relevant societal values. {2 pts ea case}
  • Answer all of the questions provided with each case, # is noted in [brackets].   {4 pts/case}
  • Your discussion for each case should be about a half to 1 page long.


  1. a)  {16 pts}

(“Code Violations with Safety Implications”) [3 questions]

  1. b)   {16 pts}

(“Do engineers have a right to protest shoddy work and cost overruns?”) [3 questions]
Part 3. [15 pts]  Cheating
Read the CU Honor Code information at the websites below:
also read the CEAE department policy, posted on D2L
Discuss how the ASCE engineering professional Code of Ethics (Part 1) can be related to violations of the CU student honor code.  Draw specific comparisons between 3 portions of the codes (list with number and letter portion of the ASCE code) and different types of cheating defined in the CU Honor Code.  {5 pts per comparison}
Part 4.  [20 pts]  Select ONE of the following 4 moral exemplars, read about their story on the NAE Online Ethics website, and answer the related questions below:
Inez Austin (environmental) Protecting Public Safety at Hanford Nuclear Reservation

  1. a) Discuss the portions of the ASCE Code of Engineering Ethics that relate to Inez Austin’s decisions regarding the waste at Hanford. Cite a minimum of 3 code elements with specific actions of Inez.  {9 pts}
  2. b) Discuss the various portions of the Code of Ethics that relate to the responses of her employers. Cite a minimum of 3 specific examples with the 3 relevant areas of the Code. {9 pts}
  3. c) Do you feel that the final “resolution” of the situation was fair and best for all (including the environment)? Why or why not? {2 pts}

Fred Cuny (general civil/developing countries) Disaster Relief Innovator

  1. a) Discuss 5 examples of ethical behavior on the part of Fred Cuny; cite relevant specific parts of the code of ethics to support your statements {15 pts}
  2. b) Discuss 5 specific examples of non-technical challenges faced by Cuny in his work [such as 1 key challenge per location where he worked]. {5 pts}

Marc Edwards (environmental) Lead in DC water – and Flint!
or use other online resources – current news stories on Flint

  1. Discuss examples of ethical behavior by Marc Edwards. Cite a minimum of 3 code elements with specific actions of Edwards. {9 pts}
  2. Discuss examples of unethical behavior by others in relation to lead in water (either DC or Flint). Cite a minimum of 3 code elements with specific examples. {9 pts}
  3. Comment on the outcomes and resolution of the case in DC and/or Flint. Do you think justice is being served? Are government agencies and workers learning from their mistakes? {2 pts}

William LeMessurier (structural engineer) New York Citicorp Tower Danger

  1. a) Give five specific examples of ethical or unethical behavior that the case illustrates, citing the appropriate portions of the ASCE Code of Ethics to support your statements. {15 pts}
  2. b) Who do you believe was at fault for constructing the unsafe Citicorp building and why? {3 pts}
  3. c) Do you believe that the eventual resolution of the problem was handled adequately? What changes would you recommend? {2 pts}

Part 5. Professionalism [16 pts]

  1. a) List, in chronological order, the typical steps required to become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE). {4 pts}

(included in the ASCE BOK2 and general overview at
b.) Discuss why licensure is so important for Civil and/or Architectural Engineers {5 pts}
(in BOK2 see pg. 9 Figure 1; also read BOK2 pgs. 6-9 and pgs. 21-22 and information from ASCE Raise the Bar

  1. c) Select five of the “attitudes” listed in the ASCE BOK2 Outcome 22 that you believe are most important for professional engineers and for each describe why it is important. {4 pts}
  2. d) Do you think a Master’s degree or 30 additional credits of coursework should be required for professional licensure? Why or why not. {3 pts} []
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