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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ethical Considerations in the Senior Design Project

Ethical Considerations in the Senior Design Project
Rafael Guerrero
This document was created as a resource to assist senior mechanical engineering students at Santa Clara University in identifying and navigating ethical considerations that arise over the course of the senior design project. From the selection of the senior design project to the completion of the senior thesis, this resource applies different ethical approaches (identified in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics’ “Framework for Ethical Decision Making”)  to each phase of the capstone project, in an effort to aid design teams in producing safe,effective, and robust technologies.
The author, Rafael Delfin C. Guerrero, graduated from SCU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2018, and undertook this project through the Hackworth Fellowship program.  He worked extensively with Internet Ethics Program director Irina Raicu of the Markkula Center, who provided indispensable feedback and guidance in the completion of this ethics resource.  Rafael’s experience with his own engineering capstone project, the Frugal Clay Press for Nicaragua, is discussed throughout the resource as “personal links” to provide cogent examples of ethical considerations that arise in the design, manufacturing, testing, and implementation of engineering design solutions.

Selection of the Senior Design Project

Definition of Project Scope

Formation, Communication, & Operation of the Senior Design Team

Design for Appropriate Technology & Including the Customer

Ethical Considerations in Design Iteration and Refinement

Prototyping, Testing, & Conceptual Design Validation

Ethical Impact Assessment of the Senior Design Project

Ethical Considerations in the Completion of the Senior Design Project & Thesis