Incoming ECE Student,

During college, you will be presented with ethical dilemmas on a daily basis. These situations could range from academic to extracurricular, but the long-term implications of your actions and the possible long-term consequences are far greater than you might expect. Even if you do not actively seek out opportunities to act unethically, these situations will find you. For example, you may forget to complete a homework assignment and a friend may offer to show you his or hers before class so you can get it done quickly. It is your decisions in moments like this that show and develop your character.

After you graduate, the quality of your character - as made up by your ethical decisions and morals - becomes one of your most important assets. Wherever you end up, the people you work with will evaluate you by your character.

An important part of encouraging yourself to be ethical is by making your life as transparent as possible. If you live your life in a way that you are proud of, you should be able to live your life transparently. This means that your decisions must be made ethically, so you will not be ashamed of them in the future. A common test of ethics in the business world is the “newspaper test.” The premise of the test is to imagine that whatever decision you are making as the headline in the newspaper. If the decision you are making is an ethical one, the idea of the newspaper headline should not worry you, however if there is any doubt that the decision is ethical, the idea of the newspaper headline should be troubling. The idea of this test basically tests how you believe your decisions could be perceived, which is another reason to attempt to live your life in a transparent way.

Your strong sense of ethics or morality is something that must be built over time. College offers the perfect opportunity to test your ethics. You will have many opportunities to make the choice that is easy as opposed to the choice that is right; copying homework, looking up answers to questions on the internet, providing friends with answers on homework. Your decisions at this point may not seem like they have important consequences, but in addition to having harsh consequences at Purdue, it makes it more likely that you will make easy, unethical decision in the future. Instead, you should choose to make decisions that show your strong character and high ethical standards.


Best of Luck,

Trevor Dowd

Electrical Engineering

Purdue University 2014

Alumni Liaison

has a message for current ECE438 students.

Sean Hu, ECE PhD 2009