Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Experiential Engineering Education


Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering


Cheryl Bodnar, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Juan Cruz, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Kevin Dahm, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Emily Dringenberg, Ph.D.


Competing Criteria, Game-based Learning, Instrument Development, Moral Reasoning, Process Safety Decision Making


Safety education, Industrial; Engineering students


Chemical Engineering | Engineering Education


Despite investments in chemical process safety education, evidence suggests that engineers’ decision making may contribute to process safety incidents. Currently, limited educational endeavors in process safety decision making exist, raising the need for a better understanding of how to prepare chemical engineering students for industry decisions. This dissertation fortifies current process safety education through three studies involving senior chemical engineering students. Study One developed the Engineering Process Safety Research Instrument (EPSRI) through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Educators may use the EPSRI to evaluate their students’ moral development. Study Two evaluated a digital process safety game, Contents Under Pressure, on students’ moral decision making. Study Two supports supplementing process safety curriculum with digital games because the game simulates process safety decisions in a plant environment, providing immersive first-hand experience without real-world risks. Study Two showed that students who played Contents Under Pressure made authentic decisions in the game, advancing their moral development. Study Three explored how students consider process safety criteria when making decisions, finding that safety takes precedence over other criteria, such as productivity, despite potential negative implications. Study Three supports educators contextualizing incident case studies with discussion on how process safety criteria compete.