This paper studies the perceived relationship between engineering and social justice and discusses a pedagogical model for engaging engineering students with social concerns. Engineering faculty were surveyed on their appraisal of different social-justice related constructs and the results indicate they associate engineering more to environmental and ethical responsibility than to public concerns such as peace, public service and gender equality. Student opinions were assessed in a focus group setting. They perceive the importance of addressing social-justice issues and consider that the university provides insufficient opportunities to develop competencies in this area. The model framework offers different pedagogical dimensions and practices that can be included in macro and micro-curricular designs. These practices seek to counter the effects of an engineering culture of disengagement towards social justice concerns.