University of Illinois trained engineers are the best and most highly sought in the world. Our graduates are superbly trained, highly competent, and creative. This, however, is not enough. Our engineers must also be trusted to conduct themselves according to the highest ethical standards. All teams must address ethical considerations in their projects. This requirement has two parts.
First, there is a stringent Code of Ethics published by professional societies, such as IEEE and ACM. The power of these Codes of Ethics is to provide guidance to engineers in decision making and to lend the weight of the collective community of engineers to individuals taking a stand on ethical issues. Thus the Code of Ethics both limits the professional engineer and empowers the professional engineer to stand firm on fundamental ethical bedrock. All teams must read the IEEE code and ACM code and comment on any sections of the code that bear directly on the project.
Second, we expect our students to have personal standards of conduct consistent with the IEEE and ACM Codes of Ethics, but also beyond it. That is, there are areas of ethics not addressed by these Codes that the engineer may consider in taking on projects or jobs or making other professional decisions. These are personal standards and choices. In the context of the class, there are no right or wrong answers here. Our students simply need to demonstrate that they are thinking deeply about their own decisions and the consequences of those decisions. We encourage our students to consider the wider impact of their projects and address any concerns raised by potential uses of the project. Students should ask themselves, "Would I be comfortable having my name widely attached to this project? Do I want to live in a society where this product is available or widely used? Would I be proud of a career dominated by the decision making demonstrated here?" Remember that UIUC engineers have a long history of inventions that really has changed the world.
If the students feel that these Codes of Ethics does not directly bear on their project and that there are no other reasonable concerns, they should not invent issues where there are none. Students will still be expected to be familiar with the IEEE Code of Ethics and ACM Code of Ethics.