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Qin Zhu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Dr. Qin Zhu
354 Goodwin Hall (MC 0218)
635 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Courses Taught

Foundations of Engineering I (ENGE 1215)


Ph.D., Engineering Education, Purdue University, 2017 
With a Graduate Certificate in Social Policy
Ph.D., Philosophy of Science and Technology (Engineering Ethics), Dalian University of Technology, 2011
B.S., Materials Processing and Control Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, 2005

Research Interests

  • Global and international engineering education
  • Engineering ethics
  • Engineering cultures
  • Ethics and policy of computing technologies and robotics

Research Statement

Dr. Zhu and his research group are interested in studying technological innovation and the professional formation of engineers from culturally responsive perspectives. We are committed to making visible and challenging cultural values and ideologies prominent in training, practices, and policies surrounding engineering and technology, using empirical and experimental methodologies to study the effects of cultural values and norms on these environments.

We explore cultural factors affecting technological ecologies responsible for deprioritizing, marginalizing, or excluding individuals and groups, working to incorporate cultural resources from overlooked, non-Western traditions – especially Confucianism – into the design of professional training and emerging technologies, for example, robotics and AI-enabled technologies. We also conduct philosophical and critical studies of cultural practices in engineering education (e.g., medicalization and psychologization).


Qin Zhu is Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Science and Technology (Engineering Ethics) and a BS in Materials Engineering from Dalian University of Technology, China. Dr. Zhu's major interests include the cultural and critical studies of engineering education, engineering ethics, global and international engineering education, and ethics and policy of AI and Robotics.

Awards & Honors

  • Best Section Paper Award, Rocky Mountain Section, American Society for Engineering Education, May 2022
  • Resident Fellow, The Summer Institute for Chinese Studies on Science, Technology & Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, May 26 – June 1, 2019
  • Editor's Choice Paper, Journal of Engineering Studies, January 2018
  • Best Diversity Paper Award, Engineering Ethics Division, American Society for Engineering Education, June 2017
  • Fellow, 5th annual Winter School on Responsible Innovation and Social Studies of Emerging Technologies, Arizona State University, January 3-10, 2017.
  • Summer Scholar, 2016 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on "Moral Psychology and Education: Putting the Humanities to Work," May 30-June 24, 2016.
  • College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Purdue University, February 2016

Selected Publications

Zhu, Q., Martin, M., & Schinzinger, R. (2021). Ethics in engineering (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Michelfelder, D., Newberry, B., & Zhu, Q. (Eds.). (2017). Philosophy and engineering: Exploring boundaries, expanding connections. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Lan, L., Zhu, Q., & Liu, Y. (2021). The rule of virtue: A Confucian response to the ethical challenges of technocracy. Science and Engineering Ethics. 27(5), Article 64.​

Zhu, Q., Williams, T., & Wen, R. (2021). Role-based morality, ethical pluralism, and morally capable robots. Journal of Contemporary East Asia, 20(1), 167-183.

Smith, N., Zhu, Q., Smith, J., & Mitcham, C. (2021). Enhancing engineering ethics: Role ethics and corporate social responsibility. Science and Engineering Ethics, 27(3), Article 28.

​Zhang, H., & Zhu, Q. (2021). Instructor perceptions of engineering ethics education at Chinese engineering universities: A cross-cultural approach. Technology in Society, 65, Article 101585.

Rea, S., Kleeman, H., Zhu, Q., Yue, C., & Gilbert, B. (2021). Crowdsourcing as a tool for research: Methodological, fair, and political considerations. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society.​ Advance online publication.

Zhu, Q., & Woodson, S. (2020). Educating self-reflective engineers: Ethics autobiography as a tool for moral pedagogy in engineering. Teaching Ethics, 20(1/2), 31-46.

​​​Zhu, Q. (2020). Ethics, society, and technology: A Confucian role ethics perspective. Technology in Society, 63, Article 101424.

Zhu, Q., Williams, T., Jackson, B., & Wen, R. (2020). Blame-laden moral rebukes and the morally competent robot: A Confucian ethical perspective. Science and Engineering Ethics, 26(5), 2511-2526. ​​

​Snieder, R., & Zhu, Q. (2020). Connecting to the heart: Teaching value-based professional ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics, 26(4), 2235–2254.

Zhu, Q., & Jesiek, B. (2020). Practicing engineering ethics in global context: A comparative study of expert and novice approaches to cross-cultural ethical situations. Science and Engineering Ethics, 26(4), 2097-2120.

Zhu, Q. (2020). Confucian moral imagination and ethics education in engineering. Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 15(1), 36-52.

Zhu, Q. (2018). Confucian ethics, ethical leadership, and engineering ethics education. International Journal of Ethics Education, 3(2), 169-179 .

​Zhu, Q., & Jesiek, B. (2017). A Pragmatic approach to ethical decision-making in engineering practice: Characteristics, evaluation criteria, and implications for instruction and assessment. Science and Engineering Ethics. 23(3), 663-679.


Executive committee member, Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum (SEAC)
Editor for International Perspectives, Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
Associate Editor, Journal of Engineering Studies
Editorial Board Member, Accountability in Research