CSPO People

CSPO Alumni

Joseph R. Herkert

Associate Professor, (Retired)


Starting Nine

  • The future ain’t what it used to be. -Yogi Berra
  • Engineering ethics is part of thinking like an engineer. -Michael Davis
  • Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. – Max Frisch
  • Airplanes may kill you, but they ain’t likely to hurt you. – Satchel Paige
  • Ethical responsibility…involves more than leading a decent, honest, truthful life, as important as such lives certainly remain. And it involves something much more than making wise choices when such choices suddenly, unexpectedly present themselves. Our moral obligations must…include a willingness to engage others in the difficult work of defining the crucial choices that confront technological society and how to confront them intelligently. – Langdon Winner
  • But you know she’s mighty unforgivin’ so you got to pay attention/You know the D-10 can be the death of you/But I get her all fired up and I can feel it in my soul/And it’s hard to tell who’s drivin’ who – Guy Clark
  • Social problems can have social solutions, which usually require discussion and compromise. Unless we insist on this, we can expect technological solutions to all problems because they are easiest to devise. – Eugene Ferguson
  • Don’t forget to swing hard, in case you hit the ball. – Woodie Held
  • There is no thing that with a twist of the imagination cannot be something else. – William Carlos Williams


  • Arizona State University, 2007-present
    Lincoln Associate Professor of Ethics and Technology
    Faculty of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication, School of Letters & Sciences
  • North Carolina State University, 1994-2007
    Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (2000-2007)
    Assistant Professor of Multidisciplinary Studies (1994-2000)
  • Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1986-1993
    Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (1987-1993)
    Instructor in Engineering Science (1986-1987)


Edited Books

  • The Growing Gap between Emerging Technologies and Legal-Ethical Oversight: The Pacing Problem (with G. Marchant and B. Allenby), Springer (2011)
  • Social, Ethical, and Policy Implications of Engineering: Selected Readings, Wiley/IEEE Press (2000)

Articles Published in Journals (selected):

  • The Bridge (National Academy of Engineering)
  • Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society
  • European Journal of Engineering Education
  • IEEE Technology and Society
  • Science and Engineering Ethics
  • Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
  • Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Articles Published in Books (selected):

  • Emerging Technologies and Ethical Issues in Engineering
  • The Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
  • Engineering in Context
  • The International Library of Essays in Public and Professional Ethics
  • Liberal Education in Twenty-First Century Engineering
  • Research on Social Problems and Public Policy, Volume 16: Integrating Science into Society, and Society into Science: Practices, Policies, and Potentials

Current Grants:

  • Adapting Law to Rapid Technological Change (Co-PI)
  • Collaborative Research: Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering Education (Co-PI)
  • Developing and Assessing Macroethics Modules for the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative Responsible Conduct of Research Courses (Co-PI)
  • Integrating Microethics and Macroethics in Graduate Science and Engineering Education: Development and Assessment of Instructional Models (PI)


  • Left the New York World’s Fair in 1964 believing that technology means progress.
  • I have left the job at the bar to become an engineer. I once wrote a poem about seeing a buffalo in the foam in a beer glass. None of the poets could see it. None of the customers at the bar could see it. So I left. – From: “Danger: High Voltage – Prologue,” in Itinerary 2: Poetry, 1975

Recent All Star Appearances

  • Second Annual Brian O’Connell Lecturer, Office of Institutional Advancement and Brian O’Connell Fund, Central Connecticut State University, 2010
  • Keynote Speaker, Symposium on Technology and Ethics, Center for the Study of Ethics, Utah Valley University, 2010

MVP Awards

  • First Annual Distinguished Service Award, IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology, 2007
  • Sterling Olmsted Award for “significant contributions in the teaching and administering of liberal education in engineering education,” Liberal Education Division, American Society for Engineering Education, 2005

In the Press Box

  • Associate Editor, Engineering Studies (2008-2012)
  • Editor, IEEE Technology and Society (2003-2007)

Minor Leagues

  • Washington University in St. Louis, D.Sc. Engineering and Policy, 1987
  • Bowling Green State University, M.F.A. Creative Writing, 1973
  • Southern Methodist University, B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1970

10 PublicationsView All Publications

Herkert, Joseph R. September 23, 2016. "Bringing Ethics to the Forefront of Technology R&D." The Institute.

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Herkert, Joseph R., Hollander, Rachelle, Miller, Clark A., Benya, Frazier, Monfreda, Chad and Osborne, Lynette. 2015. Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering Education. Springer.

Herkert, Joseph R. and Kostyk, Timothy. 2015. Societal Implication of the Emerging Smart Grid. Springer.

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Herkert, Joseph R. and Kostyk, Timothy. 2015. "Societal Implications of the Emerging Smart Grid." Engineering Identities, Epistemologies and Values: Engineering Education and Practice in Context. Volume 2, ed. S.H. Christensen, 287-306. Springer.

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Herkert, Joseph R., Hollander, Rachelle, Miller, Clark A., Benya, Frazier, Monfreda, Chad and Osborne, Lynette. 2015. "Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering Education." International Perspectives on Engineering Education: Engineering Education and Practice in Context, ed. Christensen, S.H., 249-259. Springer.

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