Advisement and Policies

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Ethics in Engineering

Ethics is a vital part of the engineering profession, and engineering students must learn to act professionally and “do the right thing.” Students and professionals are guided by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Code of Ethics and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Code of Ethics. These codes promote good behavior that fosters fairness, trust, and integrity. As per the NSPE Code of Ethics, “engineers shall avoid deceptive acts” and “shall conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically, and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation, and usefulness of the profession.”

UB Engineering Code of Professional Conduct

A UB Engineering Code of Professional Conduct has been adopted to guide student conduct while at UB. Students are expected to:

  • Act with honesty, integrity, and fairness
  • Show respect for others
  • Accept responsibility
  • Give credit where credit is due
  • Serve the larger community
  • Take pride in being a part of UB Engineering

In addition, UB students are bound by the university’s policies on academic integrity, which address issues of plagiarism and other dishonest acts. These rules are strictly enforced in our classes.

Order of the Engineer

As our students graduate and leave the university to start their professional careers, many participate in the Order of the Engineer ceremony. During the ceremony, students recite the Obligation of the Engineer, part of which is reproduced below.

“As an Engineer, I pledge to practice integrity and fair dealing, tolerance and respect, and to uphold devotion to the standards and the dignity of my profession, conscious always that my skill carries with it the obligation to serve humanity by making the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.

As an Engineer, I shall participate in none but honest enterprises. When needed, my skill and knowledge shall be given without reservation for the public good. In the performance of duty and in fidelity to my profession, I shall give the utmost.”

As the above quote indicates, engineers have special ethical obligations.

What should you do if you observe unethical behavior?

We all have a responsibility to create an environment where violations of academic integrity are not tolerated. Many state licensing boards require engineers to report unethical behavior, as does ASCE. There is a moral obligation to respond to violations of the Code of Ethics. As a UB student, you have the same responsibility.

First and foremost, make sure you are familiar with UB’s academic integrity policies. Never act in a manner that is, or could be considered, unethical or in violation these policies. If you encounter a classmate behaving in an unethical manner, the best course of action is to address the behavior as soon as possible. Use your best judgment. You may attempt to resolve the issue directly with the individual by pointing out that his or her behavior is unethical. If this approach is not successful, promptly speak to the faculty member in charge of the class or the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Because consequences can be severe, make sure your account of the incident is accurate.

In response to observed or suspected behavior in violation of academic integrity policies, CSEE has made the following departmental forms available:

  • Academic Integrity Student Complaint Form: This form may be used to file a complaint of a suspected violation of academic integrity observed by a student. This form can be obtained from the Undergraduate Academic Coordinator and should be completed during a meeting with the CSEE Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Academic Integrity Faculty Report Form: This form may be used to satisfy the “Consultative Resolution” section of the University’s Academic Integrity Policy, and is completed by a faculty member during a meeting with a student who has violated the university policies on academic integrity.

Completed forms should be submitted to the CSEE Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will provide copies to other offices as required by UB regulations. The number of forms completed will be tracked and reported annually, together with a summary of the sanctions imposed.

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