Collaborative Research: Project Incubation - New Jersey Institute of Technology Campus Alignment Review of Ethics

Project: Research project

Project Details


Today's US citizens need to be competent evaluators of scientific and technical claims that they encounter through social media, news stories, or professional communication. Their ability to identify and use verifiable facts impacts their personal choices and their active participation in public discussion. Professionals in scientific and technical careers need to approach their work with an understanding of ethical considerations, which include how the professional choices that they make in the face of ongoing and novel challenges impact citizens' everyday lives. Given the broad social impacts of scientific and engineering research, ensuring the ethical and responsible conduct of research is vital to the welfare of the American public and promotes the progress of science. Universities must meet this need, both as sites of research and, most critically, as educators of future STEM researchers and workers. In this project, researchers examine how well institutional messaging that describes New Jersey Institute of Technology's commitment to ethics aligns with students' encounters with ethics in and out of the classroom. Ethics education aligns with the critical evaluation needs of citizens in two ways: first, by ensuring that the scientific and technological researchers of the future come to their work with robust training in ethics and next, by ensuring that higher education gives students practice in ethical reasoning. Skill in ethical reasoning facilitates students' personal, vocational, and civic growth. Lessons learned from this study at this university will be used to improve alignment of ethics education at other US universities.

Researchers from Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of South Florida who are members of a research consortium, the National Ethics Project (NEP), join forces with investigators from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to build an evidence-based account of an institution's commitment to ethics education. Employing mixed-methodologies, we will test tools and techniques that combine novel and traditional methods from the digital humanities, psychology, and design thinking. These tools were designed by the NEP to benefit a broad range of institutions of higher education in auditing and transforming approaches to Ethical and Responsible Research. For this project, we will focus on alignment: identifying consistency with institution, faculty, and student statements and perceptions that include instructor goals, activities, and assessment techniques, student perception, and stated institutional commitment to ethics. In addition to helping NJIT examine its own approach to ethical and responsible research and seeding a future Institutional Transformation proposal to address identified needs, this project is the first campus-wide opportunity for the NEP to fully test its Campus Alignment Review of Ethics, which to date has been applied only piecemeal on separate campuses. Results from this research will be disseminated via the NEP website, the National Academy of Engineering's Online Ethics Center, scholarly presentations at national conferences and publications in scholarly journals. Data developed through this project will be available to other researchers and to the public through the Open Science Framework.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date10/1/1810/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $45,909.00


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