Engineering Schools Fail to Teach Empathy


Does this highlight a big omission by the STEM campaign in education?

Product Lifecycle Report

With its relentless emphasis on technical problem-solving, engineering education may be overlooking something equally important according to a new study.

The research, by a Rice University sociologist who also has a degree in electrical engineering, finds that engineering students graduate from college less concerned about public welfare than when they entered.

“One of the solutions to the complexity of engineering is to take away anything that is nontechnical,” says the study’s author, Erin Cech, who based her findings on a survey of 300 students at four unnamed engineering schools. “You just have the students solve the problems on the tests and put a box around the answers.”

This encourages a “culture of disengagement,” Cech says. And, she says, it may later discourage graduates from being sensitive to the needs of consumers, avoiding conflicts of interest, or blowing the whistle on design flaws.

“There seems to be very little time…

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