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Do Engineers Need A Code of Ethics?

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

The Curriculum at Two-year College's Engineering Technology and Engineering Transfer Programs

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Two-Year College

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Paper Authors


Raymond Edward Floyd Northwest College

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Raymond E. Floyd (M’63 – SM’85 – LSM’03) He has a BSEE from Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL – 1970, an MSEE from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL – 1977, and a PhD in Engineering Management from California Coast University, Santa Ana, CA - 2009. He spent 26 years with IBM, retiring as a Senior Engineer in 1992. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Northwest College in Powell, WY. He has published over 200 papers on a variety of topics. He most recently co-authored a text, Perspectives on Engineering (2011), an IEEE eBook, Shaping an Engineering Career: Book 2: Dual Career Ladders (2013), and another text, So You Want to be an Engineer? (2015).

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Do Engineers Need A Code of Ethics?

Abstract Most, if not all, professional organizations have a Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct, Canons of Conduct or some similarly named set of operating rules governing the expected ethical conduct of their membership. In many cases, in the preamble of the documents will be found the word “guidelines”, or words within the document such as “perceived harm” or “where possible”. These words provide the engineer some personal insight into what is intended, not something cast in concrete. In short, the documents are more an ethical environment in which to operate rather than one of moral judgement. The question that arises is, where in the normal curriculum of an engineering degree program is the subject matter of ethics discussed? This paper will suggest areas where the topic of ethics might be introduced, some ethical topics to be covered, and some of the ramifications that the engineer may encounter when faced with a situation calling for an ethical interpretation.

Floyd, R. E. (2021, July), Do Engineers Need A Code of Ethics? Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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