Professionalism and Ethics written by William C. "Bill" Mitchell, P.E. , P.L.S.
Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are repeatedly ranked as one of the most trusted professions nationally and internationally. In most surveys, STEM professions rank in the top five with health care workers normally topping the list. Engineering and surveying professions which fall under the umbrella of STEM careers are based on mathematics and science which are much more objective than the foundations of many other professions. Therefore, I feel these occupations are more straight forward with opinions and solutions to presented problems and are more concrete and leave less room for interpretation. For example, a structural beam will either support a load safely or fail; a pump will provide a maximum amount of energy; and a generator is designed to safely create a maximum electrical load. These solutions are reasonably narrow in range which provide for more agreement among STEM professionals.
Engineers and surveyors are “professional applied scientists” that accurately and honestly design and document the solutions to everyday challenges. This quality of honesty coupled with conscientiousness is the formula for professionalism. Although professionalism is intertwined with a good knowledge of ethics, I feel some of the nuances of ethics in the engineering and surveying profession need frequent reviews for the practitioners.
Title 73, Chapter 13 of the Annotated Mississippi Code of 1972 addresses Professional Engineers and Surveyors. Section 5 of the Code creates the “Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors”, and Section 15 provides the Board with the power and authority to “Establish standards of conduct and ethics”. The Board’s Rules and Regulations, Chapter 17: CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT addresses these regulations in 9 rules. I recommend that all engineers and surveyors review the “Code of Conduct” periodically but certainly whenever changes to the code or rules and regulations are announced.
A copy of the annotated MS Code of 1972 as well as the newly approved Rules and Regulations (dated January 1, 2020) are available for download on the agency website.