Michigan Robotics is committed to providing its members with an environment filled with integrity, enthusiasm, and respect. We value everyone.
In addition, the value of one’s work will be based on scientific ability and contributions to the community, and not on one’s appearance, race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.
The three values of Michigan Robotics
In order to achieve our desired community, we call on all members to be helpful to others, and adhere to the following values:
Robotics with respect
As a robotics community focused on serving society, we work to create a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, from our labmates to communities much different than our own. We listen, and we pursue robotics for good and for everyone.
Treating one another with respect also means understanding that we each bring an array of skills and perspectives to Robotics and hold different levels of responsibility and power. The empowered members of our community must be especially cognizant of the even higher standard of conduct that is required of that role, and understand the sense of vulnerability that members with less power, especially students, may feel. Students deserve our highest respect.
Our work, the hardware and software that compose our robots, acts as an extension of our own values. As such, we also need to ensure that our designs, programming, building, testing, and the actual function of our robots treat humans and human interactions with respect.
Our fundamental belief that robots can improve people’s quality of life mandates that we work together to eliminate the barriers to the field of robotics and empower all to access, and excel in, robotics.
Through outreach, we hope to inspire future students to change the world through robotics, we hope to inform responsible policy that positively impacts society, and we hope to help the general public accurately understand robotics.
This enthusiastic outreach can look different for each person. It might mean working on code to share with an online community, or teaching robotics at an event attended by 70,000 grade schoolers. Both represent vital work that strengthens the Michigan Robotics community and robotics in general.
And even within our community, we must reach out to one another and offer our varied expertise and experience, which will help create both more robust robotics and roboticists.
Integrity in action
As any field of technology, robotics has the leverage to greatly shape our future, and our honest, fair, and ethical actions here will help such behavior become the expectation everywhere. Especially in robotics, where fiction can intertwine with what has actually been achieved in a lab, it is important to report our actual success and failure as we create smart machines. Even outside of the lab, integrity is vital in our work, and while it might be tested by others’ demands or actions, we must adhere to what is right.
These three tenets, robotics with respect, enthusiastic outreach, and integrity in action, are what the Robotics Institute works toward, complementing the College of Engineering’s values while pursuing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Practicing our values
Students who go above-and-beyond in representing these values through outreach service are awarded the Robotics Outreach Ambassador award, and students can practice these values through many outreach opportunities.
Activities in which we participate that exemplify these values include:
- Open-source online courses available to all for free
- Open-source datasets and code from our labs
- Open-source hardware from our labs
- Requiring sexual and gender-based misconduct training for faculty and staff, and encouraging it for students
- Designing an assisted-listening system into our new building
- Students volunteering at the Michigan Engineering Zone, K-12 outreach with YMCA, Scouts troops, and Xplore Engineering camps
- Awarding students who go above and beyond with the annual Robotics Outreach Ambassador title
- Outreach at the annual conferences for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, and Society of Women Engineers
- Coordinating with the FIRST Alumni & Mentors Network at Michigan and performing outreach at FIRST Robotics events
- Placing preprints on the arXiv for fast, free distribution
- Course on Ethics in Robotics
- Many, many research projects across our focus areas that aim to treat the humans in the loop, and out, with respect
- Staff participating in DE&I professional development courses
- Encouraging use of inclusive language, such as preferred pronouns
And building on them
Living one’s values is a never-ending process, requiring constant growth and learning. We won’t always get it right, but we will always learn from our mistakes. Most importantly, we will listen openly to our members so as to improve both values and actions for our community as we grow.
If you encounter behavior or misconduct that does not follow these values or University of Michigan policies, or are unsure if you have experienced such behavior, please review the available options for reaching out.