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  1. Scholars and public figures have called for improved ethics and social responsibility education in computer science degree programs in order to better address consequential technological issues in society. Indeed, rising public concern about computing technologies arguably represents an existential threat to the credibility of the computing profession itself. Despite these increasing calls, relatively little is known about the ethical development and beliefs of computer science students, especially compared to other science and engineering students. Gaps in scholarly research make it difficult to effectively design and evaluate ethics education interventions in computer science. Therefore, there is a pressing need for additional empirical study regarding the development of ethical attitudes in computer science students. Influenced by the Professional Social Responsibility Development Model, this study explores personal and professional social responsibility attitudes among undergraduate computing students. Using survey results from a sample of 982 students (including 184 computing majors) who graduated from a large engineering institution between 2017 and 2021, we compare social responsibility attitudes cross-sectionally among computer science students, engineering students, other STEM students, and non-STEM students. Study findings indicate computer science students have statistically significantly lower social responsibility attitudes than their peers in other science and engineering disciplines. In light ofmore »growing ethical concerns about the computing profession, this study provides evidence about extant challenges in computing education and buttresses calls for more effective development of social responsibility in computing students. We discuss implications for undergraduate computing programs, ethics education, and opportunities for future research.« less
  2. In response to findings from the Cech study on the Culture of Disengagement at American engineering institutions, much concern has emerged regarding how future engineers might not be developing a mindset that places the public’s well-being as a foremost priority. This, of course, could have an important bearing on the type of professionals that academic institutions are sending out into the world. Many candidate explanations could presumably emerge in terms of why students become “disengaged”, including practical worries about obtaining a job or paying off debt from college. Against this theoretical backdrop, our research team is in the process of investigating what may help to combat, or at least mitigate, this type of problem. In other words, we are seeking to identify which specific facets of community engagement activities contribute to or fortify the concern that engineering and other STEM students have for the well-being of the public. Our team is in the process of embarking on a five-year grant funded project to study the effects of a broad range of community engagement activities, both inside and outside of the classroom.