January 18, 2022 CE – COVID-19 Ethical Issues

Continuing Education – Evening Lecture
Ethical Issues & the Continuing COVID-19 Pandemic

Presenter: Frank E. Falcone, A.P., P.E., D.WRE
Capt, USN (retired)
Director, Professional Development & Experiential Education
College of Engineering, Villanova University

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
5:30pm-6:30pm – Presentation
6:30pm-6:45pm – Q&A Session & Closing Remarks

PDH Credit: 1 credit

Location: Due to COVID, this will be an online presentation only

$10 each for attendees


The engineering profession is not exempt from the range of ethical uncertainties associated with the current COVID-19 Pandemic. And, there seems to be no established ‘body of knowledge’ or ‘precedent’ regarding ethical issues and COVID-19. Therefore, we are all subject to ethical decisions made for us, perhaps, without introspective thought or a view of the long-term effects of those decisions. 

Our Lecture / Discussion will build on our previous 2021 discussion in which various ethical thought processes were introduced and explained. We will focus on 2 of these ethical thought processes; Utilitarianism and Rights-Based Ethics. We will, briefly, review these basic concepts and consider them through the lenses of ‘Security’ and ‘Freedom’. 

We will address and discuss the following questions. 

  1.  As engineers, we are charged with protecting the ‘common good’ in all that we design and build. What about ‘Security’ and ‘Freedom’ as related to COVID-19 Vaccines? (Chemical Engineers & Chemists) 
  2.  What about the worldwide ubiquitous use of handheld electronic devices and the ease by which we can be guided and directed by them? Will we choose ‘Utilitarianism’ or ‘Rights-Based Ethics’? Will we have a choice in the future? (Electrical & Electronics Engineers) 
  3. Will the world-wide response to COVID-19, coupled with the rapidly expanding rate of technological advancement (engineering & science), result in a totally controlled society devoid of individual freedom? Will we, as engineers, play a conscious or, perhaps, unconscious role in this future? 
  4. Do we, as a society, want ‘Security’‘Freedom’ or a combination of both? Can we, as engineers, help craft the future? Is it ‘ethical’ for us to do so? Or, should we, simply, be reactive responding to decisions from others? 

Our January 2022 Lecture/Discussion may be among the first such discussions which might begin to develop the ‘ethical body of knowledge’ essential for a post COVID-19 world.  We, as engineers, must begin to fully understand that our profession is ‘key’ to the future of societies, worldwide. We can shape the future. What will we do? What do we want?  


Professor Frank Falcone is the Director of the Professional Development & Experiential Education at Villanova University, College of Engineering. He is also the Founder of the Career Compass Program at Villanova which is a Professional Development/Leadership/Management & Ethical Behavior Program for all undergraduate engineering students. He is a member of the faculty at Villanova and has taught both part-time and full-time since 1974. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Civil Engineer. He has also provided and continues to provide engineering design and consulting services to industry and the public sector in the fields of hydraulics, hydrology and international water resources master planning.

Prof. Falcone is a retired Captain, Civil Engineer Corps, United States NAVY. He is a Viet Nam veteran and has held 4 U.S. NAVY Commands. He is also a recipient of numerous NAVY and Department of Defense awards and recognitions.

Prof. Falcone was selected to receive a William C. Foster Fellowship at the U.S. Dept. of State (DOS) in 2004. He served in that capacity for one year and remained as a consultant to DOS until 2013. His efforts at DOS were focused on International Arms Control Treaty monitoring and evaluating the proliferation of international ballistic and cruise missile systems.

Over the past 5 years, Prof. Falcone has given numerous presentations on the subject of Ethical Behavior in the Career Compass Program and to various organizations including the American Society of Engineering Educators and the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia.

Please register no later than Tuesday, January 18 at 12 noon. Cancellation requests received by the registration deadline will be fully refunded.

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Cynthia Tarun at tarun.aichedvs@gmail.com, 832-341-4960 (Mobile).