NAE Transitions the Management of the Online Ethics Center to the University of Virginia


Tue, September 29, 2020

Washington D.C., September 29, 2020 —

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced today the transition of the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science (OEC) to the University of Virginia School of Engineering (UVA Engineering), effective October 1.

Since 2007 the NAE has managed the OEC and has expanded its resources and reach as well as the active engagement of the community. The OEC has provided engineers, scientists, faculty, and students with educational resources for understanding and addressing ethically significant issues that arise both in the practice and from developments in science and engineering. It has also served those who promote learning and advance understanding of responsible research and practice in engineering and science.

“The NAE is gratified to transfer the OEC over to UVA Engineering where this center can benefit from enthusiastic student participation and thrive in its mission to provide the resources needed to address our world’s ethically significant problems in engineering and science,” said NAE Executive Officer, Alton D. Romig, Jr. “This center has been a feature initiative of NAE and we are confident that UVA Engineering will expand it under their leadership.”

Going forward, UVA will host OEC’s vast library of online resources and serve the engineering and science community using funding provided under a current grant from the National Science Foundation.

“We are proud to be the new home for the Online Ethics Center,” UVA Engineering Dean Craig H. Benson said. “We look forward to continuing the center’s mission of supporting students and professionals as they strive to apply engineering, science and technology concepts with the best interests of society in mind. This aligns very well with UVA Engineering’s core values for leadership with integrity and good judgment.”

Rosalyn W. Berne, associate professor of science, technology and society in the Department of Engineering and Society at UVA Engineering who has led the center for the National Academy of Engineering since 2018, will continue as the center’s director at UVA.

“Serving as the principal investigator for the OEC is a humbling responsibility,” Berne said. “I remember Caroline Whitbeck, the OEC founder, and how important this site was in the earlier days of ethics education, before search engines like Google were there to help us to find ethics resources for our teaching and research. OEC has become a vast and rich digital collection of ethics resources. The opportunity before us now is to evolve the OEC into an active space of collaboration and engagement for those interested in ethics in engineering, science and social sciences.” 

Arizona State University and Illinois Institute of Technology will continue to serve as co-principal investigators. The NAE will discontinue the management of OEC effective September 30, and disestablish the Center for Engineering Ethics and Society (CEES), which has maintained the OEC at the NAE for 13 years.

Ongoing program redesign efforts are considering an expanded purview for NAE on matters of cultural, ethical, social, and environmental responsibility in engineering.


Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Eileen  Erickson
Contact Eileen Erickson
Director of Outreach and Communications
National Academy of Engineering
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