The first session of the workshop examined the goals and objectives for instruction in two areas of ethics education: responsible conduct of research and social responsibility. The first speaker, Michael Kalichman, is director of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology at the University of California at San Diego. His background is in the neurosciences, but over the last two decades his work has focused on the goals, content, and methods for teaching research ethics. In 1999, with support from the Office of Research Integrity at the Department of Health and Human Services, he created the online Resources for Research Ethics Education, which provides information and resource listings on topics in research ethics, on educational settings, and on tools for discussion (http://research-ethics.net/). In his paper, he addresses the question of what and how to teach students about research ethics by examining what the goals of research ethics education are, as determined by examining federal regulations, and then arguing for what they should be. He suggests alternative principles, goals, and outcomes for teaching of research ethics, arguing that emphasis should be placed on doing something, not everything; increasing time spent in conversations about ethical challenges; meeting the different educational needs of different disciplines; and focusing efforts to improve the community, not just individuals.
The second speaker, Ronald Kline, is the Bovay Professor in the History and Ethics of Professional Engineering at Cornell University, where he holds a joint appointment between the Science and Technology Studies Department and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research and teaching focus on the history of technology, engineering, and information technology, and the history of engineering ethics and of the social responsibility of scientists and engineers. Kline explores historical beliefs in the scientific and the engineering professions to examine the balance of priorities for topics in research ethics, specifically focusing on the lack of attention to social responsibility in research ethics and science compared to the emphasis it is given in engineering. He concludes with recommendations for correcting the imbalance that has left social responsibility out of many educational efforts in science. First, he proposes addressing directly the imbalance in attention to social responsibility when teaching students. Second, he suggests incorporating the literature from science and technology studies into research ethics because it can help to question the sharp boundary between science and engineering and their responsibilities. Lastly, he argues for expanding the material on social responsibility in the National Academy of Sciences’ report On Being A Scientist.