Taft Broome, Jr., Engineering Systems Division (ESD)

The difference between ‘being successful’ and ‘fulfilling one’s destiny’ is that the first could bring only material rewards, but the other can lead to inner satisfaction and harmony with the outer world.

TAFT H. BROOME, JR. - Professor of Civil Engineering, Howard University

MLK Visiting Scholar 2005-2006
Hosted by the Engineering Systems Division (ESD)

Taft Broome, Jr. is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Howard University. Research interests: structural systems and mechanics, dynamics of rigid bodies, engineering dynamics, engineering ethics and education, philosophy of engineering literatures.

2005-2006 Scholars

"Narrative Ethics: A Style of Mentoring"





From the 2009 Nanoethics Graduate Education Symposium, part of the first annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies

Taft Broome, Jr. is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Howard University. His main research interests are: structural systems and mechanics, dynamics of rigid bodies, engineering dynamics, engineering ethics and education, philosophy of engineering literatures.

Dr. Broome holds a BS in Civil Engineering (1966) from Howard University, and an MS (1968) and ScD (1972) in Structural Mechanics from the George Washington University. He also earned an MS in Science, Technology, and Society/Engineering Ethics (1985) from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

His father, Taft H. Broome, Sr. (1908-1989), earned a bachelor's in Architecture (1929) from NC A&T University in Greensboro and became an educator. Broome designed three churches--as well as his own house--and a park was named for him in Hickory. He was the first black man to receive an honorary degree from Lenoir Rhyne College. 

During his 29-year career at Howard, Dr. Broome, Jr. has been appointed both Department Chair and Chair of the University Senate. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, a Fellow of the Rensselaer Alumni Association, a member of the editorial board of Science & Engineering Ethics, a Founding Editorial Board Member of Engineering Studies, and Professor of Civil Engineering at Howard University. Dr. Broome has served in positions of national leadership in twelve scholarly societies, including the AAAS, Sigma Xi, AAUP, and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). 

The NAE, where he worked with Institute Professor Joel Moses and Daniel Hastings (then Director of MIT's Engineering Systems Division), led to Dr. Broome becoming an MLK Visiting ProfessorAccording to Hastings, "We invited Taft to help us think about how to integrate engineering ethics into ESD's curriculum." During his 2005-06 visit, Dr. Broome taught Engineering Ethics (ESD.932).

 

Selected, 1995 - 2014

​Broome, Taft H (2014)
Brave new worldview. Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol.20, No.2 (June 2014): 301-305.

Broome, Taft H (2012)
Ethics education and resources: A summary of issues facing the field and resources to address them. American Society for Engineering Education, 2012. Rebecca Bates, Taft H. Broome1, Legand L. Burge2, Rachelle Hollander.

Broome, Taft H (2012)
Ethics education & resources: A summary of issues facing the field and resources to address them. ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, 2012: AC2012-4208. Bates, R.A., Taft H. Broome Jr., Legand L. Burge Jr., L.L., Hollander, R., Loui, M.C.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2011)
A new algebraic technique for tracking errors in dynamical systems. Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 2010, 573-586.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2010)

Metaphysics of engineering. In: Ibo Poel and David Goldberg (eds.), Philosophy and Engineering: An Emerging Agenda, 295-304. Springer, 2010. (Philosophy of Engineering and Technology, Vol.2, Part.3). Taft H. Broome, Jr.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2005)
Broadening the Horizons of Students: An Elective Seminar Course on Ethics and the Philosophy of Appropriate Technology. Global Journal of Engineering Education 9, No.2 (2005): 111-119. J. Tharakan*, M. Castro**, J. Trimble*, D. Schwartzman*, B. Stephenson, T. Broome*

Broome Jr, Taft H (2005)
Are the university computer services helping HU faculty? A Summary of Faculty Senate’s Survey of Customer Satisfaction for ISAS. The Senator Communicator (Nov 2005): 22-25. So, D.W., *Burge, L., *Middendorf III, G.A., *Bayne, R., *Broome, T.H. Jr., *Garuba, M., *Lawson, T., & *Sola, P.A.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2004)

Broadening Horizons for our Students: An Elective Seminar Course on Ethics and Philosophy of Appropriate Technology,” 8th UICEE Annual Conference on Engineering Education Conference Proceedings, Z. Pudlowski (ed), pp. 353 – 357, UICEE Press, Melbourne, Australia (2004). J. Tharakan, M. Castro, J. Trimble, D. Schwartzman, B. Stephenson, T. Broome, and C. Verharen.

Broome, TH Jr. (2001)
Of Snow and Smith. Commentary on 'Notes on a pilgrimage to science: a fly on the wall'. (David Smith). Sci Eng Ethics. 2001 Jul;7(4):635-8. Broome TH Jr.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2000)
Race and the information superhighway: Implications for participatory democracy in the 21st century. In: John Barber and Alice A. Tait (eds.), The Information Society and the Black Community, 179-191. New York: Praeger Publishers, 2000 . *McCormick, Joseph; *Broome, Taft.

Broome Jr, Taft H (2000)
Thinking like an engineer: Studies in the ethics of a profession. Ethics 110(2), Jan 2000: 414-416.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1998)

The Voice of experience. Science and Engineering Ethics 4, no. 1 (1998): 45-50.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1997)

The Heroic Engineer. Journal of Engineering Education 86, no. 1 (1997): 51-55. T H Broome, Jr. et al.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1996)
The Heroic Mentorship. Science Communication 17, no. 4 (1996): 398-429. T H Broome, Jr. et al.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1995)
The Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A future in the balance. Academe 81, no. 1 (1995): 51-57. G Nixon, JQ Adams, TH Broome, et al.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1995)
Dynamical Systems with Rigid-Body Degree-of-Freedom Oscillators. Journal of Engineering Mechanics 121, no. 3 (1995): 487-91. T H Broome, Jr. et al.

Broome Jr, Taft H (1995)
STS Calling. AWIS Magazine 24, no. 6 (1995): 12-13. T H Broome, Jr. et al.

MIT News Profile

Lois Slavin, News Office 
December 7, 2005

Professor Taft Broome Jr. walks in many worlds.

A faculty member at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Broome is now a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor in MIT's Engineering Systems Division (ESD). He is a civil engineer whose research focuses on engineering ethics and using personal narrative to find and fulfill one's destiny.

"The difference between 'being successful' and 'fulfilling one's destiny' is that the first could bring only material rewards, but the other can lead to inner satisfaction and harmony with the outer world," Broome said.

Broome works to help engineers articulate the pivotal experiences in their lives and find underlying themes.

Giving an example from his own life, Broome described the first morning of his first job as a "real" engineer.

"I found myself alone in the office trailer of the construction site where I'd been hired," he said. "I was drinking coffee, wondering what it would be like to know what I was doing -- and then it happened."

A huge and seemingly hostile man arrived and told Broome to sign for the delivery of a massive amount of concrete churning in a fleet of trucks outside. He also asked Broome where to pour it. When Broome protested that he was alone on his first day at his first engineering job, the man threatened to have the entire delivery dumped outside the trailer. Broome promised to make a decision quickly, then stepped outside to think.

After some deliberation, he decided to emulate his Uncle Roy, after whom Broome had patterned his career. As he returned to the trailer with this decision in mind, Broome noticed a critical path schedule on a desk. It listed that day's tasks, including "pour concrete into elevator pit." Broome directed the man accordingly.

It was the right thing to do for many reasons, Broome said. Not only were his directions correct, but Broome said he later realized that by deciding to turn within and ask what Roy would do, he had found inspiration, a strong sense of self, and a feeling of being helped by unseen hands. Broome had also completed an important rite of passage: moving from the world of novice engineer to that of professional.

Broome's path from Howard to MIT led through the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), where he worked with Institute Professor Joel Moses and ESD Director Daniel Hastings. According to Hastings, "We invited Taft to help us think about how to integrate engineering ethics into ESD's curriculum."

Broome is teaching Engineering Ethics, ESD.932, in the upcoming semester, and is available to work with all members of the MIT community to help them find and fulfill their personal destinies.

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you truly are," said Broome, quoting his idol, Joseph Campbell. "The question is whether you can say a hearty 'yes' to the call of your own adventure."

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