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Engineering and Human Rights: Teaching Across the Divide

  • Shareen HERTEL and Allison MacKAY
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Abstract

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Footnotes

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*

Associate Professor of Political Science and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.

**

Professor of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University, USA.

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References

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1 Gotlieb, Melissa R and Wells, Chris, ‘From Concerned Shopper to Dutiful Citizen: Implications of Individual and Collective Orientations toward Political Consumerism’ (2012) 644 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 207, see especially 209.

2 Banaji, Shakuntala and Buckingham, David, ‘The Civic Sell: Young People, the Internet, and Ethical Consumption’ (2009) 12 Information, Communication and Society 1197, see especially 1200.

3 McCahon and Lavelle analyse the trend toward integration of engineering and business curricula around total quality management but do not consider integration of human rights; see McCahon, Cynthia S and Lavelle, Jerome, ‘Implementation of Cross-disciplinary Teams of Business and Engineering Students for Quality Improvement Projects’ (2010) 73 Journal of Education for Business 150. The syllabus archive maintained by the Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science lists only one course that integrates engineering and human rights explicitly, http://www.aaas.org/page/syllabi-science-and-human-rights#Engineering (accessed 11 May 2015). Recently, members of the Columbia University Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum (a consortium of 200 professors from 120 institutions in 30 countries) invited the authors of this article to present an April 2015 webinar on cross-disciplinary STEM/human rights teaching in light of the paucity of instruction of this type. See https://web.law.columbia.edu/sso/passcode-login?destination=human-rights-institute/initiatives/global-economy/teaching-business-human-rights (accessed 11 May 2015).

4 At the time we developed this course jointly, both authors were faculty members at the University of Connecticut. MacKay has since relocated to The Ohio State University, but the course analysed in this article is well-suited to team teaching through an online format.

5 For details on this initiative, see announcements from the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, http://news.engr.uconn.edu/human-rights-institute-and-engineering-team-to-offer-human-rights-minor.php (accessed 13 August 2015) and the University of Connecticut Human Rights Institute, http://humanrights.uconn.edu/2014/09/24/labor-rights-in-focus/ (accessed 12 August 2015). For an interview with the authors regarding this course, see http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2014/12/the-social-impact-of-engineering/ (accessed 13 August 2015).

6 Baetz, Mark C and Sharp, David J, ‘Integrating Ethics Content into the Core Business Curriculum: Do Core Teaching Materials Do the Job?’ (2004) 51 Journal of Business Ethics 53.

7 For additional resources, see case study resources available from the UN Global Compact, https://www.unglobalcompact.org/issues/human_rights/business_practice.html (accessed 11 May 2015).

8 Locke, Richard M, The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

9 Brundtland, Gro Harlem, Our Common Future (New York: UN Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).

10 Jelinski, Lynn W, Graedel, Thomas E, Laudise, Robert A, McCall, David W, and Patel, C Kumar N, ‘Industrial Ecology: Concepts and Approaches’ (1992) 89 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 793.

11 Closed loop manufacturing incorporates returned products as part of the supply chain. Ehrenfeld, John and Gertler, Nicholas, ‘Industrial Ecology in Practice: The Evolution of Interdependence at Kalundborg’ (1997) 1 Journal of Industrial Ecology 51.

12 Social upgrading in production entails improving labour practices and skills development in tandem with productivity gains. Barrientos, Stephanie, Gereffi, Gary, and Rossi, Arianna, ‘Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: A New Paradigm for a Changing World’ (2011) 150 International Labour Review 319.

13 Life cycle analysis is a technique used to assess environment impact at all stages of a product’s life, i.e., from ‘cradle to grave’. Hellweg, Stephanie and Milà i Canals, Llorenç, ‘Emerging Approaches, Challenges and Opportunities in Life Cycle Assessment’ (2014) 6188 Science 1109.

14 The Deming cycle outlines a series of steps for planning, monitoring, and adjusting the production process in order to continuously improve goods or services. Deming, W Edwards, The New Economics (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology-CASE, 1994).

15 Rockström, John, Steffen, Will, Noone, Kevin, Persson, Åsa, Chapin III, F Stuart, Lambin, Eric F, Lenton, Timothy M, Scheffer, Marten, Folke, Carl, Schellnhuber, Hans Joachim, Nykvist, Björn, de Wit, Cynthia A, Hughes, Terry, van der Leeuw, Sander, Rodhe, Henning, Sörlin, Sverker, Snyder, Peter K, Costanza, Robert, Svedin, Uno, Falkenmark, Malin, Karlberg, Louise, Corell, Robert W, Fabry, Victoria J, Hansen, James, Walker, Brian, Liverman, Diana, Richardson, Katherine, Crutzen, Paul, and Foley, Jonathan A, ‘A Safe Operating Space for Humanity’ (2009) 461 Nature 472.

16 Companies selected by our students were: Microsoft (electronics); Unilever (consumer products); Monsanto (biotechnology); and Ford Motor (automotive). Notably, at least one of our students (a chemical engineer) had previously carried out a summer internship in one of these companies (i.e., Unilever) and the group presentation was considerably richer for the on-the-job insights of that student and the student’s familiarity with the application of environmental standards in practice.

* Associate Professor of Political Science and Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.

** Professor of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University, USA.

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Business and Human Rights Journal
  • ISSN: 2057-0198
  • EISSN: 2057-0201
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-human-rights-journal
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