Skip navigation

ENE Memo: March 21, 2016

From the Head: 03/21/2016

Unwritten Laws of Engineering - Part III  

This is the final part of a series on the Unwritten Laws of Engineering by W. J. King was first published in 1944 and updated with revisions and additions by James Skakoon in 2004. Part 1 concerned things that an engineer needs to learn early on in the career while part 2 related mainly to engineering managers. This final part is concerned personal and professional behavior.  

Laws of Character and Personality:

  1. Cultivate the ability to appreciate the good qualities, rather than dislike the shortcomings, of each individual.
  2. Do not give vent to impatience and annoyance on slight provocation. 
  3. Do not harbor grudges after disagreements involving honest differences of opinion. 
  4. Form the habit of considering the feelings and interests of others.
  5. Do not become unduly preoccupied with your own selfish interests.
  6. Make it a rule to help the other person whenever an opportunity arises.
  7. Be particularly careful to be fair on all occasions.
  8. Do not take yourself or your work too seriously.
  9. Put yourself out just a little to be genuinely cordial in greeting people.
  10. Give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when you can afford to do so.

Never underestimate the extent of your professional responsibility and personal liability.

Upon becoming a member of the engineering profession, you accepted the responsibility of a professional, as well as any liability that accompanies that responsibility. Many engineers pretend that they can hide behind their employer's or their department's shield, or that they are powerless, mere cogs in the machinery, especially if something goes haywire. Although environmental and consumer safety concerns are every employee's responsibility, engineers are uniquely positioned with the power and knowledge to create, identify, avoid, and correct such problems -- an incongruous reality. Regardless of the size of your employer, never forget that you contribute to making decisions, whether the results are good, bad, or catastrophic.

Let ethical behavior govern your actions and those of your company.

Engineers need the courage of their convictions, including the courage to do what they know to be right without undue fear of criticism and without the need to explain their actions. If the reasons for your actions are sound, you should not worry about having to defend them to anyone. At the same time, you are ill-advised to martyr yourself for every controversial matter in which you strongly believe.

Regarding career and personal development:

Formal training - university classes, seminars, short courses, company-sponsored training - are a necessary part of a life-long employability plan. But your plan must also include more than a passing interest in your field by reading sales literature, trade magazines, and professional publications, and attending trade shows and professional conferences. All of this may well require sacrificing personal time and personal finances as well. Simply put, employers do not accept the full burden of employees' continuing education. The effort and dedication required to remain employable is in every engineer's best interest. 

Among the most important decisions for engineers to make about both themselves and their subordinates is when and how much managerial and administrative responsibility is appropriate. All too often increased executive and administrative responsibility is used to reward outstanding proficiency in any type of work. But this may be a mistake from either of two considerations:

(1) People are sometimes surprised to find that they are much less happy in a new, higher-level job. Engineers or scientists usually discover, sometimes to their dismay, that once they become managers they no longer have time to be engineers or scientists.

(2) By no means does it follow that a good engineer will make a good manager. Many top-notch technologists have been promoted to administrative positions much to their own and their employer's detriment.

These possible outcomes should therefore be considered carefully by the person threatened with promotion and by the person about to do the promoting.

These are but a few samples of the sage advice on personal and professional behavior. There is much, much more in the full article which can be found in Mechanical Engineering Dec 2010, Vol. 132 Issue 12, p43-47.


News and Information: 03/21/2016

IRB CoeusLite training

CoeusLite training sessions for Purdue research faculty and staff are scheduled for March. Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) and Coeus staff will demonstrate how to submit a new Institutional Research Board (IRB) protocol application through CoeusLite, followed by a question-and-answer session and one-to-one assistance on submissions.

The training workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • March 24 (Th): 8:30-11 a.m., Hall for Discovery and Learning Research, Room 143AB.

  • March 28 (M): 1-3:30 p.m., Lawson Computer Science Building, Room B151.

Registration is needed. Register for CoeusLite IRB trainings.

Group trainings may be requested by sending an email to, or calling the HRPP office at 765-494-5942

University Senate : March Agenda 

The University Senate meeting today (March 21) has an extensive agenda. You can read the agenda and the associated documents.

If you have any questions or comments please email David Radcliffe.

Calendar: 03/21/2016

Spring 2016 

  • March 24: ENE Primary Committee (Assistant cases), 9:30-11:20am, WANG 3501
  • March 24: ENE Research Seminar, 3:30-4:30pm, ARMS BO71 (Weekly)
  • March 25: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • March 31: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 1: Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30am, ARMS 3115 (Note change)
  • April 1: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 4: ENE Primary Committee (Associate cases), 2:00-5:00pm, WANG 3501
  • April 8: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 11/12: ENE Industrial Advisory Council  
  • April 14: Faculty Career Colloquium (Dr. Radcliffe), 3:30-4:20pm, ARMS BO71
  • April 15: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 20: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards  
  • April 21: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 22: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 29: ENE Friday Noon-Thirty Lunch, 12:30-1:30 pm, WANG Kitchen
  • April 30: Classes end
  • May 5: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • May 10: Grades Due
  • May 11/12: ENE Strategic Advance
  • May 13: Engineering Commencement, 8pm, Elliot Hall of Music
  • May 25: Spring Fling, 11:30am-4pm, Memorial Mall 

Summer 2016

  • June 26-29: ASEE 2016, New Orleans
  • Aug 13-15: 3rd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, Chicago

Fall 2016

  • Aug 14: End-of-Summer Potluck, 5-8pm, Happy Hollow Park
  • Aug 15: Faculty return  
  • Aug 17: ENE Advance (TBD)
  • Aug 22: Classes begin

Funding Opportunities: 03/21/2016

Selected Funding Opportunities:

NSF Cybermanufacturing Systems (CM) The CM Program supports fundamental research to enable the evolution of a wide range of network-accessed manufacturing services that: employ applications (or “apps”) that reside in the “cloud” and plug into an expansible, interactive architecture; are broadly accessible, guarantee reliable execution and have capabilities that are transparent to users; and are accessible at low cost to innovators and entrepreneurs, including both users and providers. Proposals accepted anytime.

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing – Public Participation in Engineering Research Through this DCL, the Divisions of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) and Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) invite proposals in the area of Public Participation in Engineering Research, focusing on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing. To support the continued expansion of research involving Citizen Science, Crowdsourcing, and related forms of public participation, this DCL invites proposals that address concerns, including underlying theory and methodologies that shape Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing in areas covered by CMMI and/or CBET. Proposals may also address new methods and technologies for improved data collection. Furthermore, CBET will also support novel applications of previously tested methods for purposes of data collection and analysis. Inclusion of social and behavioral science expertise is encouraged where appropriate. Deadline: June 1

NSF/USDA Dear Colleague Letter: Joint Funding Opportunity – Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGERs) to Develop and Enable Breakthrough Technologies for Animal and Plant Phenomics and Microbiomes This NSF-BIO and USDA-NIFA Joint Activity is soliciting EAGER proposals to support development of innovative approaches for phenotyping and microbiome characterizations, as well as for elucidating the role of microbiomes in plants and animals. In part to more fully realize the potential of low-cost high throughput sequencing and genotyping technologies, this activity addresses critical gaps in tools available for characterizing plant and animal phenotypes and microbiomes. Two page summary due May 12.

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Computer Science for All NSF plans to make available $120 million over the next five years to accelerate its ongoing efforts to enable rigorous and engaging CS education in schools across the nation. This DCL draws attention to existing NSF funding opportunities in FY16 that are available to support the goal of providing opportunities for all students to participate in computer science and computational thinking in STEM learning in the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels. Deadlines vary by program.

United Engineering Foundation 2017 Grants Announcement The United Engineering Foundation advances the engineering arts and sciences for the welfare of humanity. It supports engineering and education by, among other means, making grants. Projects that are outside “business as usual” are preferred. Technical research proposals and proposals by individuals are seldom accepted. Broad-based, interdisciplinary proposals that further the engineering profession as a whole are preferred. Concept papers due June 1; Invited proposals due August 1.

Anticipated Funding Opportunities:

These solicitations are anticipated to be released soon based on the timing of previous solicitations for the program or notices of intent to publish. We are posting this information to help with proposal planning efforts but please keep in mind that the release dates and/or scope of a solicitation can change from year-to-year so be sure to read the solicitation carefully once it is released.

ED-IES Announces FY17 Research and Training Program Opportunities The RFAs for all nine competitions announced will be available on or before March 31 with deadlines in early August. Look for an internal limited submission competition for the Pathways to the Education Science Research Training program once the RFA is released.


EVPRP Workshop: Making the Transition to Strategies for Large, Center-Level Research Proposals This workshop is targeted to Purdue faculty who are interested in pursuing large, interdisciplinary funding opportunities. Sally Bond, Assistant Director of Research Development Services, will provide an overview of important considerations for proposal strategizing and writing when responding to these complex opportunities. A panel, made up of faculty and staff who have experience with large centers, will follow the presentation and describe their own efforts and experiences. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 22nd in Stewart 202 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch is provided so registration is required by Thursday, March 17th.

Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions or comments related to this e-mail.

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact Teresa Morris or David Radcliffe by midday Friday for the following week's issue.