Special Sessions

The ISTAS21 program will feature the following Special Sessions, which engage with the conference theme, “Technological Stewardship & Responsible Innovation,” from a variety of angles. View the session descriptions below.

Click HERE to visit (or return to) the full ISTAS21 Conference Program.

Artificial Intelligence & Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Literacy - A Cross-disciplinary Exploration

This special session will foster an interdisciplinary conversation with the audience on AI literacy through a roundtable discussion consisting of archivists, digital humanists, literary scholars, and philosophers from several disciplinary backgrounds. Together, we will engage in an open conversation to address a two-part question, namely: how can scholars and the university intervene against technology systems that disproportionately marginalize or discriminate against minorities? And how can they use this intervention to simultaneously platform individuals or groups who can surface counter-narratives within critical discourse surrounding representative technology and its role within the broader fields of policy, geopolitics, and governance? Our conversation will focus on (1) the overarching ethical principles guiding collection, processing, and reuse of data; (2) algorithmic bias, including racial bias in data and discriminatory values in design; (3) the situated and relational nature of data, data practices, and data interpretation; and (4) the practical importance of equitable, open-sourced design within public and private institutions.


Kem-Laurin Lubin, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Waterloo.

Joseph Shea-Carter, Ph.D. Student, Literary Studies, School of English and Theatre Studies,
University of Guelph.

Kathryn Harvey, Archivist, Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library;
Senior Associate Editor, Archivaria.

Asen O. Ivanov, Michael Ridley Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities,
University of Guelph.

CARE-AI Special Session on AI Ethics

This special session organized by the Centre for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI) consists of two 90-minute parts, focusing on two groups at the frontline of AI Ethics: students and startup founders. Part 1 is a student-led AI Ethics paper presentation and critique: two students from the Philosophy program will present original work, “Analyzing Distrust in Human Interactions with AI,” and “Enactivism and Modelling Human Behaviour in AI,” (20 min); each presentation will be followed by a prepared critique from a student in the Collaborative Specialization in AI (10 min) and a 15 minute general discussion with the audience. Part 2 is an AI Ethics startup showcase: 5 Canadian startup companies (whose products or services either present an AI Ethics dilemma or propose a solution) will present 5-minute pitches, which will each be followed by 5 minutes of expert commentary and 5 minutes of open discussion.

Philosophy Paper Presenters:

Clair Baleshta, PhD Student, Department of Philosophy,
Western University.

Dylan White, PhD Student, Department of Philosophy,
University of Guelph.

CSAI Critique:

Glen Reavie, MA Graduate, Department of Mathematics & Statistics,
University of Guelph.

Alysha Cooper, PhD Student, Department of Mathematics & Statistics,
University of Guelph.


Graham Taylor Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Professor, School of Engineering, University of Guelph Canada CIFAR AI Chair,
Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

Joshua August (Gus) Skorburg Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy,
University of Guelph.

Canadian Start-Ups:

Fairly AI keeps AI responsible and regulated. For organizations that have prioritized AI projects to create business value, Fairly is a tool that runs enterprise-scale, governance, risk, and compliance protocols. alongside your internal systems, at the model risk management level, making explainable AI possible for all stakeholders.

Future Fertility, an innovative Medical AI company focusing on reproductive medicine based in Toronto, Canada, is applying machine learning inside the IVF lab to improve diagnostics and optimize outcomes. Using its patented Artificial Intelligence machine, ‘Violet’, they are able to instantaneously analyze the quality of an egg based on a single image, a diagnostic and predictive tool that is essential for both women undergoing social egg freezing and IVF. With their proprietary image analysis technology, Future Fertility will evolve the IVF process from relying on human subjectiveness into an automated, objective and accurate procedure.

Pluto Ventures has developed an AI software that analyzes 2D pictures of a person’s body, generating precise and anatomically correct measurements of it. Pluto assists customers in the health, insurance and apparel industries to understand detailed anatomical information about their consumers, in order to personalize their products and offerings.

Private AI has developed software that uses AI to strip personal data from chat transcripts, call logs, emails, and email institutions. The venture allows businesses to preserve the personal data of users and therefore become GDPR compliant. Private AI’s anonymization suite is designed to run directly on the customer’s device as opposed to alternative solutions that require data to be sent to the cloud.

Acrylic is an art-tech start-up on a mission to build the fine art creation tools of the future and make art accessible through technology. We leverage robotics, computer vision and machine learning to enable visual artists to produce authenticated, textured artwork made with real paint on canvas — at scale.

Ethical and Human Values in Emerging Technology

Critical by Design: Fostering Responsible Innovation with Critical Design Methods

Design theorist Matt Malpas suggests that critical design is “less about problem solving and more about problem finding.” Rather than offering solutions or efficiencies, critical designers develop projects that provide time and space to reflect on specific issues, most often problems related to technological progress. This creative practice can be integrated into the design workflow as a way of exploring and mitigating the potential social and environmental impacts of technological innovations. In this 90-minute workshop, participants will be introduced to critical design methods and apply them in small group projects to create speculative scenarios and objects-to-think-with that promote reflection on key topics in responsible innovation. The workshop will provide participants with skills that can be applied in their own research, design and innovation contexts.


Marcel O’Gorman, Professor of English, Founding Director of the Critical Media Lab, Research Chair, University of Waterloo.

Jason Lajoie, former Research Associate on Council for Responsible Innovation and Technology, University of Waterloo.

More than Tech for Good: PeaceTech at Waterloo and Beyond

This session will feature engineers and peacebuilders, including C-Suite level experts, with connections to the University of Waterloo who are contributing to the growing global movement for PeaceTech by using technology to augment efforts to advance peace globally, or leveraging peacebuilding to generate critical insights on technology. Presenters will address topics such as the role of research and advocacy in the context of peace and security issues related to technology.


Paul Heidebrecht, Director of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.


Emily Charron, Coordinator of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.


Hannah Bernstein, UWaterloo student & PeaceTech Living Learning Community Peer Leader

Branka Marijan, Senior Researcher, Project Ploughshares

Cassie Myers, CEO and Founder, Lunaria Solutions

Jonathan Smith, Machine Learning Scientist, Layer 6 AI

Richard Yim, CEO and Founder, Demine Robotics

Technology, Equity, and Social Justice Roundtable

This roundtable discussion, sponsored by a SSHRC Connection Grant, brings together four international faculty members from a range of academic and industry backgrounds in engineering and social sciences to discuss how they engage with equity and social justice issues in their work, focusing specifically on methodology and how students and young professionals can approach these issues. Ansari will describe his current efforts to decolonize design research in the university community, in particular through the _Decolonising Design_ platform. Gürses will discuss her ongoing work in the field of Privacy Engineering, which focuses on designing, implementing, adapting, and evaluating theories, methods, techniques, and tools to systematically capture and address privacy issues in the development of sociotechnical systems. Hoffman will focus on a novel and timely intervention into Data Ethics: Feminist Data Ethics, which engages with the ethical implications of data’s production, circulation, application, and storage. Sloane will highlight the critical importance of responsible AI design and governance, interdisciplinary opportunities for researchers to develop and implement tools to engage with responsible innovation, innovation in AI procurement, and AI auditing.


Heather Love, ISTAS21 Co-Chair, Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature
University of Waterloo.

Jason Lajoie, ISTAS21 Organizing Chair, Research Associate Council for Responsible Innovation and Technology,
University of Waterloo.


Mark A. Vasquez, Senior Program Manager,
IEEE TechEthics


Ahmed Ansari, Industry Assistant Professor, Founder of Decolonizing Design Collective and Architecture Design Research Lab,
New York University.

Anna Lauren Hoffman, Assistant Professor at Information School,
University of Washington.

Seda Gürses, Associate Professor at the Department of Multi-Actor Systems,
TU Delft.

Mona Sloane, Adjunct Professor, Tandon School of Engineering,
New York University.

Universal Access to Technology

Universal digital access to technology can be as seemingly straightforward as providing electricity access to a remote location or as overwhelmingly complicated as developing a healthcare system that provides immediate and secure access to medical experts, insurance companies, and all of their accompanying infrastructure. This session, featuring members of the SSIT Technical Committee on Universal Access to Technology, discusses how scholars, researchers, practitioners, and educators can actively reduce this digital divide which separates communities and individuals on the basis of ethnicity, religious conviction, sexuality, gender identity, income, age and in many other ways. Drawing on their professional experiences, panelists will discuss strategies for placing humanitarian concerns at the centre of all we do as we strive towards universal digital access; they will demonstrate how to carefully and ethically balance social, cultural and technological dimensions of society to the benefit of all people, particularly those living in rural and underserved areas; and they will elaborate on the role of education, encouragement, and empowerment in the pursuit of these goals.


Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, Chair, SSIT TC Universal Access to Technology; Member, SSIT BoG, University of Kansas, USA.

Ramalatha Marimuthu, Secretary, CS and Member of CS BoG, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.

Members of SSIT Technical Committee on Universal Access to Technology are invited as panelists.


Prof Iven Mareels, FIEEE, FTSE, FIFAC, FIEAust Director of the Center for Applied Research, IBM A/NZ

Larry Stapleton, Coordinating Committee (CC9) Chair for Social Effects of Automation and Control Systems International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC)

Ramneek Kalra, IEEE Impact Creator, Cloud Support Associate at Amazon Web Services Inc., Lead, SLP Initiative at IEEE Computer Society SYP

Shally Gupta, IEEE Member, IEEE Impact Creator, IEEE SSIT TC UAT Member, Research Scholar, NSUT East Campus, Delhi-34, India

Huazhen Fang, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Kansas

Tembine Hamidou, Learning & Game Theory Lab, Paris, France

Workshop on Open-Access Educational Materials

This workshop is targeted at anyone interested in teaching ethics to engineering students. It aims to introduce the participants to the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology method of building up Case-Based Exercises by having them apply it to create a Case-Based Exercise of their own. Participants will work in small groups (break-out rooms), where each group will be asked to start building a Case-Based Exercise intended to be taught in an ethics/philosophy of technology course for engineering students using the toolkit.


Lavinia Marin, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
TU Delft.

Tijn Borghuis, Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences,
Eindhoven University of Technology.

Roel Veraart, Social Sciences,
Wageningen University & Research.

Health Systems

Guiding Responsible Neurotechnology Innovation

This session will feature representatives from the engineering, neuroethics, and end user communities of neurotechnologies who are contributing to different working groups of the IEEE Neuroethics Framework. The session aims to foster an interdisciplinary conversation with the audience on key ethical, legal, social and cultural issues around the use and development of neurotechnology for different domains of application. In the first part of the workshop, each panelist will present a quick overview of the main ethical, legal, social and cultural themes we have identified for different neurotechnology domains of application. The second part of the workshop will provide a moderated-discussion among the panelists to address three main questions: How do the identified issues overlap, or are they unique to a given domain of application? How might this IEEE neuroethics framework differ from other neuroethics frameworks which have been more oriented to neuroscientists? How can the engineering community improve stewardship and responsible innovation regarding neurotechnologies? The session will conclude with an open discussion with the audience to address questions and to engage with comments and suggestions.


Laura Y. Cabrera, Chair IEEE BRAIN Neuroethics Subcommittee.


Jen French, Neurotech Network, user perspective of our work, and contributor to the Medical Working group.

Jack Judy, Director Nanoscience Institute for Medical & Engineering Technology, Tech Lead of several Working Groups,
University of Florida.

Peter Reiner, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, co-founder of the National Core for Neuroethics, Ethics lead Wellness Working group,
University of British Columbia.

Nicole Martinez-Martin, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Ethics Lead Legal Working Groups and other groups,
Standford University.

Life Science and its Implications for Society - (In addition to COVID-19)

This multidisciplinary panel of experts in medicine considers the applications and impacts of technological innovations like Artificial Intelligence, automation, and the Internet of Things, focusing especially on addressing global health challenges, particularly for the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, including in developing nations and underserved populations. Panelists will discuss the opportunities and challenges of telemedicine, cybercare, homecare, treating noncommunicable diseases and preventing communicable diseases, as well as the development of reliable policy and standards for privacy and security of digital innovations.


Luis Kun, IEEE Society of Social Implications of Technology, Chair/Moderator.

Sameer Antani, IEEE Computer Society.

Carole Carey, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society/Standards.

Nahum Gershon, IEEE LSTC/Consumer Technology Society.

Mohamad Sawan, IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, VP Publications.

One Health Informatics and the Stewardship of Complex Systems.

This session explores how Complex Adaptive Systems provide a framework for analyzing important social, biological, and environmental systems in One Health. Anthropogenic disturbances, many of which are technological, pose a threat to key ecological and sociological processes. They lead us to consider questions such as: Is artificial intelligence a saviour or a demon? What are the political, ethical, and scientific implications for One Health? How might the Global Burden of Disease (human), the Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) and other Global Burdens constitute a broader “One Health Burdens of Disease” and provide an evidence-base for One Health decisions? It will be necessary to address different data challenges in the developed and developing worlds, many of which are ethical and political, not just technical. Panelists will discuss the GBADs approach to data sharing, including how FAIR-principled metadata can be used to create trustworthy data systems and how the Data Governance Handbook provides important guidance for communicating data sharing principles to data contributors and users. Each panelist will provide a 5-10 minute “primer” talk which will introduce and link the key themes. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion with opportunities for the audience to pose questions.


Rozita Dara, University of Guelph and Samira Yousefinaghani, University of Guelph


Graham Taylor, Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Professor, School of Engineering, Canada CIFAR AI Chair, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence,
University of Guelph.

Theresa Bernardo, IDEXX Chair in Emerging Technology and Preventive Healthcare and Professor, Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, Co-lead Global Burden of Animal Diseases Informatics Theme,
University of Guelph.

Deborah Stacey, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science, Co-lead Global Burden of Animal Diseases Informatics Theme,
University of Guelph.

Kassy Raymond, PhD Student (Computational Sciences Collaborative Specialization in One Health), School of Computer Science, Technical Manager Global Burden of Animal Diseases Informatics Theme,
University of Guelph.

Privacy & Security

Digital and Societal Transformations

As a kickoff teaser for next year’s ISTAS 2022 conference, “Digital and Societal Transformations,”  this interdisciplinary panel considers the social impact of digital innovations like 5G in the contexts of privacy, security, socio-economic prosperity and cybercrime. The panelists, who are international leaders and experts in privacy, cybersecurity, and technology policy and governance, will discuss and share their concerns on the socio-cultural and economic benefits and challenges of the ongoing digital transformation.


Dr. Laurie Lau, APATAS, ISTAS2022 Chair, Organizing Committee.

Dr. Luis Kun, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Center for Hemispheric, USA. Chairman IEEE- SSIT Distinguished Lecturer Program,
Defense Studies at the National Defense University.

Dr. T V Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum.

Dr. Lennon Chang, ISTAS2022 Finance Chair,
Monash University.

Dr. T V Gopal, ISTAS 2022 Chair, Technical Progamme Committee,
Anna University.

Sustainable Cities & Communities

Smart Cities through the Lens of Human Rights: Technological and Ethical Dilemmas

Smart Cities can be described as a smart system comprising numerous integrated smart systems that fuse and share data, including personal and potentially sensitive private information. Such circumstances could intrude on the rights to privacy, and human dignity, with disclosures potentially harmful to the individual, families, friends, associates, and communities.

This workshop will examine ways to promote the best outcomes for the residents and visitors of smart cities through the lens of human rights. Affective rights will also be discussed as requisite to formulating the optimal smart city. Moreover, this workshop will foster discussion around the still relatively nascent technology of Affective Computing, which is the application of AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), biometric measurement, sentiment analysis, and psychological factor assessment in determining and interacting with the affective states of the individual.

This workshop is open to all stakeholders in Smart City development and management, including computer scientists, engineers, Smart City integrators, application developers, third party vendors, ethicists, city managers and administrators. It should be especially informative for oversight and governance organizations providing auditing and performance evaluations.

Keynote Presenters:

Professor Bryant Walker Smith, School of Law, University of South Carolina and Affiliate Scholar, The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School

Cordel Green MBA; LL.M (Dist.); LL. B (Hons); BA (Hons), Executive Director, Broadcasting Commission – Jamaica, Vice-Chairman, International Bureau – Information for All Programme (IFAP), UNESCO, and Chairman, UNESCO IFAP Working Group on Information Accessibility

Organizers and Panelists:

  • Angelo Ferraro (large system architecture, smart grids, massive communication failures, affective computing, IoT instrumentation, civil and electrical systems, standards, contract, and financial negotiations)
  • Jigyasa Sharma (AI, data governance, community engagement, equity, inclusion)
  • Larissa Paredes Muse (energy & street lighting sector specialist, with focus in stakeholder engagement (finance / contracts, private sector, urban planners, academia, public sector agencies, legislation & regulation bodies) & standard development)
  • Lee Davenport (program design, multi-partner program development, communications, implementation, and evaluation strategies)
  • Rosaldo Rossetti (behavioral modelling, social simulation for urban mobility)
  • Sara Paiva (smart and inclusive mobility, social inclusion)

Water and Cities: Get in the game!

Flooding is the most frequent and costly disaster threatening the sustainability of cities in Canada and also around the globe. Technical approaches alone are not effective in addressing the problem because flooding issues require discussions and agreements among stakeholders. This workshop will begin with a “5×5” speaker session: five presenters speak for five minutes each offering a different viewpoint on the topic “Water in our Cities”; together, they cover the following perspectives: public, private, global, academic, and artistic. Attendees will then participate in the online Flood Resilience Challenge, an interactive “ serious game.” Serious gaming is an approach to learning about complex socio-environmental problems that creates safe spaces for stakeholders to interact and explore innovative ideas for addressing these problems and imagine unknown futures. The game involves role-playing, which offers an effective means of gaining insight into different perspectives, developing communication and conflict resolution skills, and facilitating collective decision-making . 

Session Moderator: Nadine Ibrahim, Turkstra Chair in Urban Engineering, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo

5×5 Panel: 

Public sector: Erin Mahoney, Commissioner of Environmental Services, York Region; Douglas Wright Engineer-in-Residence, University of Waterloo. 

Entrepreneurship: TBA

Academic: Clinton AndrewsRutgers University. 

Visual expression: Mariko Uda, Independent Eco Author. 

Global: Sherif Kinawy, Infrastructure Advisory, KPMG.

FRC Game:

Evalyna Bogdan, University of Calgary

Sina Golchi, University of Waterloo

Heather Murdock, University of Potsdam

Shaieree Cottar, University of Waterloo

AC Atienza, University of Waterloo

Technology Policy & Governance

Designing Online/Offline Experiences with Children in Mind

Children need space to grow up, learn, evolve in a manner that allows them to develop through their stages of evolving capacities in a trustworthy environment. The exposure of children in cyberspace opens a wide spectrum of opportunities and risks. Educational apps, social networks, and connected toys open up possibilities to enhance inclusion, learning opportunities, and new experiences for children, but they also create serious risks relating to privacy, safety, security, and ultimately the mental and physical wellbeing of children. How can we design an online/offline environment that is made for children and keeps their best interests in mind?

Session Organizer and Moderator: Moira Patterson, Global Market Affairs & Community Engagement Director, IEEE Standards Association


  • Nishan Chelvachandran, Iron Lakes, Chair of IEEE IC Trustworthy Technology Implementations for Children’s Online/Offline Experiences
  • Katina Michael, Arizona State University, Chair of IEEE P2089 Working Group on Age Appropriate Digital Services Framework
  • Baroness Beeban Kidron, 5Rights Foundation, UK House of Lords (TBC)
  • Child’s Rights / Policy expert (TBC)
  • Company / provider expert (TBC)

Additional speaker details coming soon!

ETHICS-2021: Engineering and Corporate Social Responsibility

Author Meets the Critics - Engineering Ethics: Contemporary and Enduring Debates by Deborah Johnson

Engineering Ethics, Contemporary and Enduring Debates by Deborah G. Johnson (Yale University Press, 2020) is the first engineering ethics textbook to use debates as the framework for presenting engineering ethics topics. The book addresses foundational issues in engineering ethics, such as whether engineering needs a code of ethics; employment relationships, especially those with clients and employers; and contemporary, societal issues, including whether autonomous cars will ever be safe enough and whether engineers are responsible for social justice. The debate format exposes the underlying rationales for many commonly held beliefs about engineering and technology, and encourages the development of reflective and critical thinking. Johnson approaches engineering ethics with the premise that engineering is both a technical and a social endeavour, and ethical issues arise in the social practices of the profession that are often intertwined with technical decision making.


Deborah G. Johnson, Philosopher, STS scholar whose research interests focus on computer ethics and engineering ethics.


Keith Miller, University of Missouri – St. Louis
Dayoung Kim, Purdue University
Lambèr Royakkers, Eindhoven University of Technology


Brent Jesiek, National Institute of Engineering Ethics, Purdue University

Author Meets the Critics - Extracting Accountability: Engineers and Corporate Social Responsibility by Jessica Smith

The growing movement toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) urges corporations to promote the well-being of people and the planet rather than the sole pursuit of profit. Extracting Accountability investigates how the public accountability of corporations emerges from the everyday practices of the engineers who work for them. Focusing on engineers who view social responsibility as central to their profession, Smith finds that the corporate context of their work prompts them to attempt to reconcile competing domains of accountability — to formal guidelines, standards, and policies; to professional ideals; to the public; and to themselves. Their efforts are complicated by the distributed agency they experience as corporate actors —they are not always authors of their actions and frequently act through others. Drawing on extensive interviews, archival research, and fieldwork, Smith traces the ways that engineers practicing in the mining and oil and gas industries accounted for their actions to multiple publics— from critics of their industry to their own friends and families.


Jessica Smith: Associate Professor, Engineering, Design, and Society Division; Director, Humanitarian Engineering Graduate Programs, Colorado School of Mines


Sean Field, University of St. Andrews
Angela Bielefeldt, University of Colorado, Boulder
Elaine Englehardt, Utah Valley University


John Impagliazzo, Hofstra University

Corporate Social Responsibility and Engineering Education

Corporate social responsibility has a chameleon-like character. It exists as part of a larger ecology of related concepts: sustainability, corporate citizenship, business accountability, social performance, sustainable development, creating shared value, and ESG (environmental, social and governance). Its definition shifts by industry, geographic context, and company invoking the term. Some academics dismiss CSR as greenwash, while others uncritically treat it as a silver bullet for reconciling ethics and economics, morality and the market. This roundtable session highlights current research and practice on training engineers to navigate CSR as a heterogeneous and ethically complex field of practice. The roundtable will feature brief presentations on each topic and then be opened to discussion. Topics range from findings from a five-year research project that infused ethnographic research on CSR into engineering curricula at four different universities, to theories of “relational CSR,” to assessments of the professional prospects for “engineers for good” in the corporate job market.


Jessica Smith, Colorado School of Mines


Relational CSR as an engaged communal approach to engineering ethics: Qin Zhu and Jessica M. Smith

Teaching opportunities for CSR in electrical engineering: Stephanie Claussen

A comparison of professor and student experiences of CSR teaching: Larkin Martini

Stories from the Classroom: a Retrospective on integrating CSR into Petroleum Engineering Courses: Carrie McClelland and Linda Battalora

Ethical pessimism and student views of engineers’ agency in corporations: Jessica Smith, Greg Rulifson, and Stephanie Claussen

Engineering for good in/and the corporate job market: Marie Stettler Kleine, Rachel Geiger, Scott West, and Juan Lucena

Integrating Virtue Ethics into STEM Courses

The objectives of this workshop are (1) Introduce participants to a virtue ethics framework; (2) Describe modular integration of the framework in a robotics course through 9 weekly “Ethical Considerations in AI” assignments; (3) Assist participants in the development or planning of a virtue ethics module in the context of their own course.

Character is “the collection of stable, deep, and enduring dispositions that define who we are and shape how we characteristically think, feel, and act”. Virtue ethics is the theoretical foundation of character education. Virtues of character are thus stable and enduring dispositions that enable us to think, feel, and act in morally good ways for morally good ends. Importantly, though character virtues represent enduring dispositions, like other personality traits, they can be intentionally taught and developed by well-designed pedagogies.

The complexities and needs of the future STEM workforce requires knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that extend beyond STEM disciplinary silos. This includes fostering an internationally collaborative approach to research and development that is entrepreneurial, socially responsible, and engages the workforce in life-long learning. An approach our department has taken to develop engineering students to meet these demands is to integrate character education into the curriculum. Current work by our department-wide character project uses an established taxonomy within professional education, the Jubilee Centre Framework. This framework identifies four types of virtues: intellectual, moral, civic, and performance.

A recent review on engineering ethics education found that current practices lead to shortcomings in emerging professionals (not just engineers) such as the rigid interpretation of ethics and in considering the broader societal impacts of their decision-making. We have implemented a modular approach to engineering ethics, infusing character education comprehensively into our curricula. Thus, discussions of ethics are not isolated to a single course, but may develop over 4 years. While ethics education may focus on student decision making during specific times of ethical dilemmas, character education focuses on the habitual actions, motivations, and virtues that prepare students for those difficult decisions while also influencing their daily behaviors. This, we believe, offers a more aspirational framework for ethics education, allowing the student to reflect on- and develop their own character while engaging in ethical discussions and decision- making. Further, this seeks to bring utility to ethics education beyond decision-making in the face of ethical dilemma, but in the formation of STEM professionals and their role in society.


Mark A. Vasquez, Senior Program Manager, IEEE TechEthics


Dr. Erin Henslee, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering, Wake Forest University

Dr. Adetoun Yeaman, Engineering Education Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Engineering, Wake Forest University

Dr. Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon, Department of Engineering, Wake Forest University

Ethical and Responsible Research Program (ER2) at the US National Science Foundation

The session will have 5 presentations. The first will introduce the ER2’s goals and funding priorities. The second presentation will introduce the Online Ethics Center originally funded by NSF to support training and research of ethics in STEM. The presentation will focus on its new initiative for building communities of practice that support social responsibility through ethical research. The final three presentations will be from Principal Investigators who received funding from the ER2 program that addresses engineering and social responsibility. The project by Centeno and Reeves seeks to create a novel pedagogical approach that merges engineering ethics training in an academic setting with engineering internships in an industry setting to: 1) promote the development of strong ethical sensitivity and reasoning skills within students (i.e. ethical competence), and 2) promote the establishment of ethical competence as a core competence associated with the engineer identity. The fourth presentation by Jesiek, Claussen and Zoltowski will give an overview of a longitudinal study investigating how engineering professionals’ views of ethics and social responsibility evolve over time, from when they first begin their engineering studies to when they graduate and enter the workforce. The project by Qin and Scott approaches social responsibility from a global and (cross-)cultural perspective by examining how national cultures and educational experiences affect the ways in which engineering students from three countries (the United States, Netherlands, and China) make sense of their social responsibilities and develop their professional ethical identities.


Katherine Duncan, President IEEE-USA


Wenda Bauchspies, NSF Program Director for Ethical and Responsible Research


Wenda Bauchspies, NSF Program Director for Ethical and Responsible Research, “The Ethics and Responsible Research Program at NSF: Future Directions”

Julie Simpson, University of New Hampshire, “OEC’s Community of Practice for Scholars, Educators and Administrators Fostering Research Integrity”

Grisselle Centeno, Florida Polytechnic University and Kingsley A. Reeves, Jr., University of South Florida, “Collaborative Research: Enhancing Internships with Professional Ethics Training: Cultivating an Ethical Engineer Identity”

Brent Jesiek, Purdue University, Stephanie Claussen, San Francisco State University, and Carla Zoltowski, Purdue University, “Collaborative Research: Early Career Engineers’ Views of Ethics and Social Responsibility: Trends, Influences, and Contexts”

Qin Zhu, Colorado School of Mines and Scott Streiner, University of Pittsburgh. Collaborative Research: Responsible Engineering across Cultures: Investigating the Effects of Culture and Education on Ethical Reasoning and Dispositions of Engineering Students

The Role of Ethics Officers and Organizational Ethics Programs

Featuring four current or former Ethics Officers of international corporations or organizations, this panel will focus on the strengths and areas for improvement of organizational ethics programs.


Edward C. Carr, Head of Compliance with Siemens Digital Industries Software, a Siemens AG business.

Anne R. Harris, Owner and Principal of Ethics Works LLC.

Chitra Barth-Radhakishun, expert in ethics with over 30 years of experience in the United Nations system.

Gretchen A. Winter, J.D., Executive Director of the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society.


Greg Adamson, ETHICS-2021 General Chair

Well-Being and Ethically Aligned Design

While avoidance of harm is critical for engineering and systems design, the recent focus on risk classification regarding Artificial Intelligence from the European Union has the policy and corporate worlds primarily focused on what shouldn’t happen for society, versus what needs to happen to create our most purpose-driven, positive future.

Session Organizer & Moderator: John Havens, Director, Emerging Technologies & Strategic Development, IEEE Standards Association


Bogdana Rakova, Data Scientist, Responsible AI, Accenture.

Prof. Dr. Sarah Spiekermann, Chair of the WU Institute for IS & Society, IEEE 7000 Vice-chair (2016-2021).
Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Prof. Melodena Stephens, Professor of Innovation Management,
Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government.

Deborah Hagar, MBA, President – The Foundation for Sustainable Communities, Sr. Adjunct Professor,
University of LaVerne.