Educating for integrity: Blending the liberal arts and humanitarian engineering

Jeff Frank, Nikola Petrová*, Peter Kipruto Chemweno, Alberto Martinetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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In 2005 the Carnegie foundation published the second edition of William Sullivan’s work on integrity. A guiding idea behind this project is that professionals in a variety of fields will face conflicts that cannot be neatly or easily resolved. A professional with integrity manages these conflicts ethically, wisely, and well. This also implies a need for innovative education initiatives to enhance impact for society and especially the vulnerable and underserved. Humanitarian engineers fulfil this need to be prepared for professional lives of integrity. Moreover, in the coming years, education for societal impact places them at the intersections of countless competing demands, including climate change, mass migrations of people across the globe, rising living and resource costs, the need for a multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspectives to education and innovation, to name just a few. Integrity and ethics is a key virtue influencing conception, design, implementation and operationalisation of education tailored for integrity, that is a cornerstone of many ethical traditions, and an aspiration of a liberal arts approach to education. In this paper, we explore two ways of connecting liberal arts education (using as reference a programme taught in US and a programme taught in EU) to new education initiatives in humanitarian engineering education. The overarching goal is to create innovative education programmes for a new crop of humanitarian engineers that prepares them for a professional life of integrity while creating broader impact for underserved and vulnerable persons. Specifically, we postulate that integrity as taught within a liberal arts education can positively contribute to humanitarian engineering education, and better prepare future humanitarian engineers to approach societal problems from the broadest possible perspective, while co-creating innovative technological solutions for humanity. The role of challenge-based education for co-innovation and co-creation within the CDIO cycle is underscored in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International CDIO Conference
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Event19th International CDIO Conference 2023: Engineering education for a smart, safe and sustainable future - Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 26 Jun 202329 Jun 2023
Conference number: 19


Conference19th International CDIO Conference 2023


  • Engineering Education
  • Humanitarian Engineering
  • Liberal Arts
  • Learning Experience
  • Sustainable Development Goals 4 – Quality Education


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