ASCE is committed to ensuring that civil engineers have the educational opportunities and resources to enhance their talents, not only to meet today’s demands but also those of the years ahead.
Defining the Standard for Civil Engineering Education
Making sure the next generation of civil engineers is ready to take on the infrastructure needs of the 21st century was the force behind the second edition of ASCE’s Body of Knowledge. This update of the original report was unveiled Feb. 19 at a ceremony at the National Academy of Engineers. The second edition enhances the definitions of the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter a profession that has experienced great change in the last 20 years. The report looks at how both formal and experiential learning combine to fulfill the Body of Knowledge requirements. Implementation of the recommendations will take years, but the result will reform the education and pre-licensure requirements for tomorrow’s civil engineers.
Major Change in Accreditation Status Approved
In a significant victory for ASCE, the board of ABET, Inc., the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, voted to remove the prohibition on dual-level accreditation of engineering programs -- a ban that had been in place for more than 50 years. The prohibition barred engineering programs in a given discipline at the same institution from being accredited at both the baccalaureate and the master’s level. ASCE, supported by other professional engineering societies, had pressed for this change for many years as part of our “Raise the Bar” efforts. The result opens up multiple practical paths to the fulfillment and validation of the civil engineering Body of Knowledge.
Access to Continuing Education Widely Expanded
To meet member needs around the globe, ASCE expanded its offering of both live and distance learning opportunities. In 2008, ASCE offered 50 new online programs which featured technical expertise from our Institutes and other renowned industry experts. In addition, more than 510 “live” seminars were offered, including a new Structural P.E. Exam review course live on the Web, and a new seismic review Webinar for those preparing for the Structural Engineering Seismic Exam in California.
ASCE also reached out globally; we provided a five-day program on cost estimating to the Panama Canal Authority, provided customized training for IMP in Mexico City, and worked with Society members in Costa Rica to assist them with on-site training objectives.
Building Enthusiasm for Engineering in Elementary School
This year ASCE developed a series of new outreach resources for students in grades 3-8 entitled Civil Engineering -- It’s Everywhere! Each guide offers a child-friendly introduction to the civil engineering profession, with includes fun factoids, age-appropriate challenges and exciting profiles of engineers whose work is making a difference.
Infusing Middle School Curricula With Engineering
ASCE partnered with The Salvadori Center of New York City, an educational not-for-profit organization to help expand their architecture and engineering-focused teaching to middle-school teachers in other metropolitan classrooms, through the ASCE/Salvadori Center Middle School Educator Institute.
Encouraging High School Girls to Dream Big
Encouraging more gender diversity in the profession by reaching out to high school girls is the focus of a new, online resource for high school girls called Engineer Your Life! The Web site is a project of the Engineer Your Life Coalition established by Patricia D. Galloway, Ph.D., P.E., Pres.04.ASCE. The site offers prospective engineering students, their parents and educators career information, and seeks to break down stereotypes that discourage girls from considering careers in engineering.
Engaging and Challenging Undergraduate Engineering Students
ASCE has created a number of annual competitions to provide students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers.
Dozens of teams participated in this year’s Concrete Canoe competition which challenges students' knowledge, creativity and collaboration skills while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. More than 11,000 teams registered for the West Point Bridge Design Contest and submitted 32,240 unique designs. Inspiring innovation in bridge design, the Steel Bridge Contest is designed to supplement civil engineering students’ education. Students drive the project experience from conception and design through fabrication, erection, and testing, culminating in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy.
Improving CE Education One Teacher at a Time
Developing the teaching abilities of CE faculty to facilitate student learning is the goal of the ExCEEd Teaching Workshop. This year, workshops were conducted at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville in Fayetteville, AK, and the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. A total of 425 civil engineering faculty from 194 different colleges and universities have graduated in the ten years of the ExCEEd program.
Developing Student Chapter Leaders
Our ASCE student members learn technical skills in school, but it is through their involvement in ASCE Student Chapters that many of them develop the “soft skills” needed to succeed in the profession. In conjunction with the multi-regional conferences held each year, ASCE holds workshops for student chapter leaders. This year, 507 students from 117 student chapters participated.