An Editor’s Job is … sometimes a success!

I am very proud of a manuscript that was released digitally by Taylor and Francis publishers this week, authored by Dr. Mathana Amaris Fiona Sivaraman. I served as the Editor for this manuscript, as it is part of a set that will be published in hard copy in May in The Australasian Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE). The set comprises a special focus issue on ethics in engineering education and practice. It’s an output of the global Research in Engineering Education Network ( that I Chair.

The title of Fiona’s paper is “A 4-tier rubric for evaluating engineering students’ ethical decision-making (EDM) skills: EDM model as a tool for analysing and assessing ethical reasoning” and it can be donwloaded from (If you need access and your library doesn’t have it, please let me or the author know and we may be able to get you a copy for free.)

Here’s the official abstract for Fiona’s paper:

“Ethical decision-making (EDM) is an important element in the engineering profession. This paper explores the use of an ethical decision-making model (EDMM) as a tool for analysing and assessing the ethical reasoning skills of student engineers and their ability to apply the rationale of EDM process for ethical vignettes. The tool, distilled from several existing EDMMs, was tested against interview data collected from 12 graduating students at one private university in Malaysia. The students were asked to examine two ethical vignettes of varying scenarios and difficulty levels. This was followed by a semi-structured, face-to-face interview (corresponding to the first four steps of EDMM) to gauge their ethical reasoning behind their decision for each vignette. Their verbal responses were analysed and categorised into a four-tier rubric developed in accordance with the four steps of EDMM. Findings revealed that generally, students were able to identify the underlying issue (step 1) and the affected parties and the consequences (step 2), but they did not give much thought to potential course of action (step 3) or to testing available options (step 4). Levels of development of ethical reasoning provided by students varied between the first and second vignette. Findings suggest that the EDMM holds promise as a way to better understand and diagnose students’ readiness to face ethical challenges in their profession.”

Sivaraman, 2021

I worked really, really hard to support Fiona as she’s an early career scholar — a “Baby Doc” like Diana — and fairly new to publishing in academic journals.

I was delighted to receive this thank you note over the weekend, from Fiona.

She said I was welcome to publish it in a blog, so here you go! It’s rare to have an author who had to work so very hard thank me for the effort. Dr. Robin Fowler was another person who sent thanks, and I cherish both their comments. The editorial Fiona linked below is really quite interesting to read as well!

Dear Professor Shannon Chance,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you personally for all that you have done for me in the past 1 year (though I am a complete stranger to you).

In my little experience of publishing a few indexed journal articles since 2014, I have come across very few editors who were helpful, and more so many unpleasant experiences with editors who hold on to the manuscript for over a year without any feedback or status update leaving you in agony waiting for a response. The response matters a lot to junior researchers like me, who need to show publication input to sustain in academia.

Of all the editors I have worked with so far within my limited correspondences with them as an author, I remember the late Emeritus Professor Ray Spier (Editor of Science and Engineering Ethics Journal) left a lasting impact on me.  Prof Ray personally found time not only to reply to newcomers like me (I was still doing my PhD then), but also provided suggestions for the final revision of my manuscripts.

And, you are phenomenal. I have never come across an Editor who works closely with the author, who replies to the author’s emails and who cares so much for the final output.  Even during my PhD, I did not have the comfort of experiencing such care and supervision, and yet again I had to work on my own without a Principal Investigator during my postdoctoral fellowship. That is why I am really touched by your care and mentoring.  This paper would not have been possible without your guidance and personal attention.  Thank you so much.

Occasionally, I contribute write-ups to the local dailies in Malaysia.  Exasperated with the system, as a junior researcher, I have written about the culture of bullying and practice of ‘free riders’ in academia.

The other day, I was going through your blog. I wonder how you find time to multi-task on so many things, and also find time to reply to ‘small fry’ like me. You are doing such amazing, wonderful stuff as a global leader in Engineering Education Research, STEM education, Ethics and Sustainability, Gender Inclusion and Diversity etc.

Once I land into my new job this year (I pray it will be sooner), then perhaps I can find ways to connect with you in terms of future work. 

I have taken note of your contact details undersigned in your email.  Do allow me to WhatsApp you on special festive occasions (i.e. Christmas).

Till then, thank you and take care.  Virtual Hug 😁



(Mathana Amaris Fiona)



Google Scholar Citation: Mathana Amaris Fiona Sivaraman