STEMskiller: Skill Set Map for Mentors of Early Career Researchers

CAREER MANAGEMENT: Leadership and teamwork

Social responsibility/taking on responsibility


“Social responsibility” has many definitions, but even the Wikipedia entry on this topic includes a section relating to STEM and responsibility for knowledge and inventions which have negative consequences.[1] Professional societies and institutions often govern what is considered ethical within a particular community (e.g., the U.S. National Academy of Engineering’s has a Center for Engineering Ethics & Society with a link to additional resources such as the fledgling Ethics in Science National Clearinghouse). Mentors ideally should make early career aware of social responsibility issues if this has not been emphasized in mentee’s prior education.


Useful Social responsibility resources:

Brodeur, D. R. (2013). Mentoring young adults in the development of social responsibility. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education19(1), 13-25.

Describes the key principles of social responsibility from the author’s perspective: compassion, an ethic of care, solidarity, and a preferential option for the poor. Provides an example (Table 2) of how social responsibility can be built into an engineering ethics curriculum as well as scales which can be used in measuring student understanding of social responsibility issues. Describes how the mentoring environment can be enriched, provides examples of service projects, concluding that:

We believe that quarterlife students in our engineering classrooms want to live lives that matter. It is our position that they want to contribute to the betterment of society through the pursuit of their careers. In order to do so, they need engineering programs that will inspire a vision and facilitate the development of a commitment to social responsibility.

Yanez, G. A., Thumlert, K., de Castell, S., & Jenson, J. (2019). Pathways to sustainable futures: A “production pedagogy” model for STEM education. Futures108, 27-36.

A thought-provoking article which:

…[unpacks] narratives and practices informing STEM education that induct learning actors into ‘anticipatory regimes’ that advance neoliberal ends and technocapitalist ideologies. We argue first that STEM narratives of progress, competition, and innovation increasingly obscure the urgent ecological, ethical and social justice conditions students confront daily. Ironically, this prepares them for a future rendered unsustainable by scientific and technological orthodoxy. We then draw upon critical sustainability studies (CSS) to articulate new axiological orientations that reposition science and technology learning.

 Links to further reading on this topic.

Tags: All IPS; all PSR; all IAL; CompGS; CompTS

Peer Review: None

Table of contents:

3.2.6. Social responsibility/taking on responsibility


Author: Stephanie Krueger

Peer Reviewer(s): None

Last Updated: October 28, 2021


Editor: Stephanie Krueger Last modified: 28.10. 2021 12:10