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Peterson Leads Development of Ethics Cases

MJ Peterson, Professor of Political Science, has led the development of a series of in-depth case studies, teaching notes, and other instructional materials for use in graduate science, engineering, and public policy classrooms. The work is part of the National Science Foundation project, International Dimensions of Ethics Education in Science and Engineering (IDEESE). 

Peterson's materials explore key international dimensions of ethics--including diverse regulatory contexts, challenges of transnational communication, and global frameworks to manage risk--that are often overlooked in current ethics in science and engineering education. 

The collection includes case studies on the Bhopal Plant Disaster; the Reporting Incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS); the EU-US Dispute over Regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms, Plants, Feeds and Foods; Recruitment of Egg Donors by South Korean Stem Cell Researchers; the Narmada Dams Controversy; Access to HIV Treatments in Developing Countries; the Asilomar Conference on Laboratory Precautions when Conducting Recombinant DNA Research; and Transboundary Trade in Hazardous Substances and Wastes.

    In addition, Peterson produced twenty original background readings on topics ranging from the accountability of multinational corporations, to existing national efforts to control information flows, to cultural competence in a transnational workplace, and authored teaching notes and discussion questions for nine educational modules. 

    The materials benefited greatly from insight, commentary, and pilot testing from the full IDEESE team: Jane Fountain (PI, Political Science), Marc Achermann (Co-PI, Physics), Paula Stamps (Co-PI, Public Health), Beverly Woolf (Co-PI, Computer Science), Neal Anderson (Senior Researcher, Electrical and Computer Engineering),Thomas Murray (Educational Technology, Consultant), and Ron Sandler (Philosophy, Consultant, Northeastern University), as well as undergraduate and graduate students from across the UMass campus.

      All teaching materials and background readings are available through the Science, Technology and Society Initiative Website.

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      • Faculty News