Ethical Aerobics: Preparing Engineers for the Global Workplace

  • Scott Coffel (University of Iowa)


Inadequate ethical conditioning can undermine the credibility of individuals and institutions. Fortunately, the professional staff of the Hanson Center for Technical Communication have devised a series of innovative workouts for the ethically winded. These workouts, consisting of writing–intensive exercises integrated into department-level and core curriculum courses at The University of Iowa’s College of Engineering, challenge students to revitalize lazy arguments, pursue accuracy to the point of exhaustion, and recognize that there are few (if any) merely technical decisions. In addition, we encourage students to visit the Hanson Center for one-on-one sessions with our peer consultants: fellow students who serve as role models for tackling the rhetorical challenges of engineering. Although the regimen of activities at the Hanson Center defies simple categorization, the Center’s ethic of “no pain, no gain” means simply that there are no short cuts to good writing or public speaking, and that the process of drafting, obtaining feedback, and revising is part of an overall exercise in ethical behavior that enables engineers to balance their responsibility to themselves, their profession, and the world.

How to Cite:

Coffel, S., (2014) “Ethical Aerobics: Preparing Engineers for the Global Workplace”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-4. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Scott Coffel

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed