Use of the LITEE Lorn Manufacturing Case Study in a Senior Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory

  • Nithin Susan Abraham
  • James Patrick Abulencia
Keywords: engineering ethics, LITEE case study, Lorn Manufacturing case, unit operations laboratory


This study focuses on the effectiveness of incorporating the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE) Lorn Manufacturing case into a senior level chemical engineering unit operations course at Manhattan College. The purpose of using the case study is to demonstrate the relevance of ethics to chemical engineering students by addressing real-life ethical problems found in the workplace. The selected LITEE case study, which involves a maintenance worker who experiences an accident during a routine procedure, helps transfer the theory behind ethics into practice, highlights the importance of team work, and prepares the students to evaluate and present an assigned position in the case to a panel of two attorneys. The assignment also helps narrow down the question of where to incorporate ethics into the overcrowded chemical engineering curriculum. Student feedback indicates that the unit operations laboratory course is not the best place to insert the case study. Implications for future research suggest for an engineering ethics course, which can allow for ethics to be taught in an in-depth and more effective manner. Finally, the case study helps educators realize that students should have experiences outside of their comfort zone by learning to communicate technical concepts in a comprehendible manner to a real audience and in a realistic atmosphere. The limitations of this study further strengthens the notion of how much of a challenge it is for educators to teach ethics to engineering students due to the fact that it may or may not be possible to change a persons ethical values.