Burks educates professional engineers from across Ohio
Attendees of Prof. Burks’ presentation learned about several topics, including:
- The legal liabilities of using electronic communication to manage ethical decisions.
- The Federal Rules of Evidence that make electronic communication legal evidence and court admissible.
- And the consequences of ethical versus legal violations in engineering design and practice.
Burks noted that the response to her presentation was overwhelming. “I received a tremendous amount of questions and shared stories," she said. "We have to recognize that the challenge for today’s engineer is not just making ethical decisions, but deciding how to manage electronic communication regarding risk-vs-benefit design ratios, cost, testing data, federal regulations and disclosure."
Burks has also developed other engineering ethics and law cases. A Case in Biomedical Engineering Ethics: Severe Bone Fractures, Implant Screws and a Billionaire Investor is a fictional scenario that examines poorly designed implant screws rushed to the market through the FDA 510 (k) device exception classification to profit from severe bone fracture surgeries. Within the case, material science and biomedical engineers must grapple with biocompatibility design issues versus pressure from a billion dollar investor to keep costs low.
Regarding her work with the EED, Burks stated that "earlier this year, Apple, one of the leading engineer-driven, technology giants, faced federal and legal issues concerning smartphones, programming, digital privacy and disclosure. How are we preparing OSU engineering students, who will be corporate directors and vice presidents, for these types of challenges? I am excited and humbled to hopefully be a part of our answer. I believe the Engineering Education Department is a special place to be."
Angie Burks, J.D., is a graduate of the Boston University School of Law and a former Community Builder Fellow at Harvard University. Her research interests include engineering ethics and electronic communication.