Student Ethics Competition

The Region 3 Student Ethics Competition is held annually at SoutheastCon, and is sponsored by the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee. The competition was developed for use at IEEE Regional student events to encourage the study and awareness of professional ethics by IEEE Student Members ( The contest includes a presentation and defense of a case analysis by teams of two or three students. The 2017 Region 3 Student Ethics Competition will include a qualification round open to all Region 3 student branches, followed by the final round in which the top eight teams from the qualification round compete. Note the requirement that each team must provide a judge in the qualification round, as described below.


  • Friday – March 30, 2017     Student Ethics Competition Qualification Round
  • Saturday – April 1, 2017     Student Ethics Competition Final Round
  • All participants (competitors and qualification round judges) must be registered for SoutheastCon 2017.
  • All participants (competitors and qualification round judges) must register for the Student Ethics Competition by March 23, 2017 at:
  • All competitors must be student members or graduate student members of IEEE in Region 3 at the time of the competition.
  • Only one team is allowed per Region 3 student branch.


All student teams that have (1) registered for the competition by the deadline and (2) registered for the conference will compete in the qualification round. Teams shall consist of two or three students and will be provided a copy of the IEEE Code of Ethics for the competition ( Each team will complete a brief ethics scenario within a 45 minute timeframe and will submit a written statement of 500 words or less, which must be typed and submitted electronically. Teams will be sequestered. Each student team must provide a qualification round judge according to the regulations defined in section 3 below.


Each team shall provide one qualification round judge, who must be an IEEE member (of any grade), registered as a judge for the student ethics competition by the deadline, and registered for SoutheastCon 2017. Note that the qualification round judge may be a student, a branch counselor, a faculty member, a section member, etc. During the qualification round, the judges will receive training including the ethical issues in the given ethics scenario, and scoring recommendations regarding (1) ethical issue identification (2) ethical issue explanation (3) recommendations on resolution (4) explanation of issue resolution and (5) overall expression. The grading rubric for the qualification round is given in section 6. Each judge will score a subset of the total number of submitted statements, with no knowledge of school affiliation for the statements to be scored. Judges will not score the statement submitted by their student team. In the case of a three student team, it is allowable to use one student as the qualification round judge, with the two remaining students forming the qualification round team. Should such a team advance to the final round of the competition, all three students are allowed to compete


Each statement submitted by teams in the qualification round will be scored by multiple judges. The top eight teams will advance to the final round. In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken by the Head Judge of the Student Ethics Competition.


A team will be disqualified from the competition if (1) the team qualification round judge is not present for training or scoring (2) any competitor is not an IEEE member (3) a student branch enters more than one team (all teams entered are disqualified) (4) a team uses electronic communication while sequestered (5) a sequestration area violation such as arriving late, leaving early, or allowing non-team members in the area or (6) any perceived unethical behavior. The Head Judge may solicit input from the Regional Student Activities Committee for any disqualification decision.


The qualification round grading rubric is shown on the following:

Category  Category Summary: The statement should… Possible Points Earned Points
Case Facts …restate relevant facts appropriate to the ethical issue(s) displayed in the scene 5
Question(s)  …identification of the ethical question(s) that arise from the scene 10
References  … identify the relevant sections from the IEEE code of ethics.
These should correlate to the ethical questions 10
Discussion … provide a complete analysis of the scene with logic and reasoning. This section discusses why the identified ethical question(s) are issues. 40
Recommendations  ….detail a plan to go about resolving the ethical issue(s). The plan
should be reasonable, humane, and appropriate to the scene. These
should also follow the “Guidelines for Engineers Dissenting on
Ethical Grounds” as outlined in the “Student Ethics Competition
Guidelines and Requirements”
Organization and Clear Conclusion  …be well written, easy to follow, the conclusion should be clearly stated. 10
Communication Effectiveness …proper grammar, tone, well written, easy to follow 5
Deductions  5 points for every 20 words over the allotted amount – –
TOTAL 100  
Grader Signature
Note: Scoring rank will be used to break any tie based on points.

 Paper or Plastic? From Paper Records to Electronic Database
 The Graduate Student Laborer
 The Rat Race:
 Confidentiality Concerns:
 The Federal Scientist-Multiple Roles and Moral Issues:
 Software Protection & Intellectual Property – Role Play Material from MIT’s EECS

 Intellectual Property of Engineers in Private Practice (adapted from NSPE Case No.
 Software Piracy vs. Legal Copying:
 The Hardware Lab:
 Co-Op Student:
 A Glitch In The Pilot Line:
 Signing Off on Drawings (adapted from NSPE Cases No. 88-5):
 Let the Chips Fall Where They May:
 Software Testing:
 Computer Encryption Software:

 IEEE Cases: