UVU Prof Among Researchers Awarded NSF Grant


UVU Ethics Professor Elaine Englehardt, Ph.D., and a team of researchers from around the country were awarded a grant totaling more than $600,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant will be used to advance their work to bolster the ethical identity of engineering students and future STEM professionals.

“The grant process this year was highly competitive with few awards granted. We are fortunate to assemble this important team to help students better understand the importance of ethical choices. Academic institutions must teach our students the critical importance of behaving ethically both inside the classroom and as practitioners,” Englehardt said.

Englehardt’s focus on developing and strengthening ethical courses and programs has propelled her to become the distinguished professor of ethics and a professor of philosophy during her time at UVU. This is her seventh national grant, with previous awards coming from National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education’s FIPSE program.

Research conducted by Englehardt and Dr. Grisselle Centeno from Florida Polytechnical University (FPU), Dr. Kingsley Reeves and Dr. Michelle Hughes Miller from the University of Southern Florida (USF), and Dr. Michael S. Pritchard from Western Michigan University (WMU) will analyze the motives and barriers to ethical behavior in an academic setting, and the resulting ethical attitudes and actions exhibited by students.

“As we try at Florida Poly to differentiate our product, and our product is the students, we want them to be the absolute best in terms of their technical training,” said Centeno, principal investigator of the research. “However, it would all be worthless if they engage and practice in an unethical manner.”

About 60 engineering students at FPU will participate in multiple aspects of the research over the course of a four-year program that focuses on students during their mandatory engineering internships. These students will take part in ethical trainings, case studies, surveys, and open discussions on different ethical scenarios.

“The data from these interactions will be used to measure the impact these factors have on the students’ ethical actions and reactions. The goal is to develop a methodology that institutions across the nation can adopt to promote the establishment of ethical competence as a core skill associated with the engineering identity,” said Englehardt.