Week 8--posting - Engineering Professionalism,...

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Engineering Professionalism, Capabilities, and Mr. Chandler’s Lecture New Material on Engineering Professionalism The material covered here (a) is not in the textbook, (b) will not be covered in lecture, and (c) will nevertheless be covered on the final exam. The material has to do with the organizational structure of the engineering profession. You might well begin by pointing out that the basic structural division is between voluntary professional societies and organizations connected with the enforcement of professional ethics on those who have the P.E. license. Let’s begin with voluntary societies. The voluntary societies fall into three categories. First, there are the specialty societies, such as American Academy of Environmental Engineers, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Second, there are the societies representing the major divisions of engineering, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. Third, there are the so-called “umbrella” societies: those open to engineers from the various divisions of the profession. These are of two types. The American Association of Engineering Societies is a society of societies. Individual engineers are not members. The National Society of Professional Engineers is open to all registered (P.E.) engineers. The NSPE is especially concerned with the professional development of engineers and engineering registration. There is no equivalent in engineering to the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association, which can speak for the whole profession. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? You might ask the students to speculate on why attempts to form such a society in the past have failed. An important question is what these societies can do to support professional ethics. The conclusion seems to be that what they can do is limited for two reasons. First, the most severe penalty the societies can impose is expulsion, and engineers do not have to be members of these societies to practice engineering. Second, the societies have limited financial resources to investigate ethical violations and whether a member should be expelled. A case of great importance here is the 1979 case involving the American Institute of Architects (AIA)—the “Mardirosian Case.” Mr. Mardirosian was hired by the city of Washington, D.C., to review the work of another architect who had designed the alteration and reconditioning of Union Station and its new National Visitor Center. The earlier architect’s contract contained a provision that allowed the city to terminate his services at his discretion. The city decided to take advantage of this provision and hire Mardirosian to complete the architectural services for the visitor center. Mardirosian was charged by the AIA with supplanting another architect in violation of a provision
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Week 8--posting - Engineering Professionalism,...

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