Personal Ethics

Incoming ECE Student,

As a student in ECE, or in any discipline really, you are going to be faced with ethical dilemmas throughout your education and beyond. These problems will not have one correct solution, and no matter what actions you end up taking it cannot be interpreted discreetly as 'correct' or 'incorrect'. Life is not found upon 1s and 0s sadly, so you need to use your own system of values to come up with a solution that is right in your eyes. Sure it is important that others believe that your way of handling things is morally right, but your own opinion in these matters is what is most important. I have personally experienced such situations in my own college career and I hope that my actions or inactions in the situation I am about to describe will help you to establish your own morals and standard operating procedures.

While in my 4th year of college, I was taking an optical lab in which I had 2 lab partners that I had never met before and have not seen since. One of the lab partners, let's call him Partner A, was a pleasure to work with. He showed up on time to both the lab and any outside meetings we may have set up, or he called to let us know why he would not be showing up. Partner A did the work assigned to him and would pick up any slack the other group members may have had. Needless to say I enjoyed working with Partner A and we got along fairly well. Partner B was a slightly different story. It is not that Partner B did not do what he was assigned, but he was 20-30 minutes late to each lab after the first and did very little to ensure that in the post lab write-up parts other than his own were completed in time. Also during the lab, Partner B would mostly be in the way, endlessly fussing with the setup and other minutiae rather than moving forward in the procedure. I don’t believe that Partner B was a bad or lazy person, but I did not enjoy our experiences together.

During several of the post labs, the write up was done by myself and Partner A and I was left with the option of leaving Partner B’s name off of the document. I opted to include Partner B's name on the document even though some might have argued that he did not help with the write up so he did not deserve any credit for the work done. However, I chose to include his name because I believed it was the right thing to do. Other people may not agree, they may say that if he did not do his part of the write up then his name should not be included for the credit. But my personal code of conduct does not agree with this, so I included his name.

As shown in this example differing situations calls for differing approaches to handle the problem. There is no definite right or wrong in this situation. On one hand some would say it would be too harsh to cause a classmate to receive a zero on an assignment. Others would say that he deserved to receive a zero due to his lack of participation on the write up. The choices you make should always follow your own set of ethics and what you believe to be right or wrong even if others might not agree with it.


Ryan Dombrowski

rdombro@purdue.edu




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