Watershed Year for "Raise the Bar" Initiative
October 17, 2009, marked the 11th anniversary of our Board of Direction’s approval of Policy Statement 465, Academic Prerequisites for Licensure and Professional Practice.
It also turned out to be a critical year for our “Raise the Bar" initiative and our work with partner organizations. As driven by President Klotz and his mission for the year, the advances proved to be equal parts Advocacy, Benefits and Change.
At the August annual meeting of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) in Kentucky, the Council planned to finalize many of the details of the Model Law/Rules associated with incorporating additional formal education beyond the baccalaureate degree no earlier than 2020. Key members of ASCE’s Competency Strategy team attended to support our position that a strengthened core Body of Knowledge is needed to prepare civil engineers to deal with the challenges of the future. Their effective presentation yielded positive consequences.
As a result, the following resolution, reproduced below as written, was adopted by a wide margin:
- The NCEES Engineering Education Task Force was charged with analyzing “any alternative solutions to the concept of additional education that have been or might be identified”; and
- All alternatives explored were based on all additional education and/or experience required occurring after the B.S. degree; and
- No alternative explored the possibility of additional education prior to the award of the B.S. degree or other B.S. degree reform, even though these concepts have been expressed many times; therefore, be it
- The NCEES Engineering Education Task Force should further study alternative solutions to the concept of additional education; and, further, be it
- Study includes reform to the bachelor’s degree program such that the B.S. degree be modified to contain the appropriate educational requirements to practice at a professional level.
This resolution will be addressed again by the NCEES Engineering Education Task Force in 2009-2010.
Several other resolutions that may have been detrimental to ASCE’s competency strategy were also voted down by NCEES.
A special task force appointed by President Klotz scrutinized the proposed "plus 30" postgraduate standard, focusing on what qualifies as equivalent professional experience. The panel's efforts clarified the "plus 30" definition of the work experience that would satisfy Professional Engineer licensure requirements.
Also among the major gains for the Raise the Bar initiative in 2009, NCEES approved provisions delineating the specific requirements of “acceptable coursework” beyond the baccalaureate level, “approved providers,” and the addition of M-ABET provisions to the Model Law.
In summary, the NCEES Model Law (when implemented, no earlier than January 1, 2020) defines an engineer intern (EI) as a graduate of an engineering baccalaureate or masters program accredited by the EAC/ABET, or equivalent, who has passed the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam. And the NCEES Model Law now states that admission to the principles/practice of engineering (PE) examination will require that the applicant be an engineer intern (EI) and have –
(a) a master’s degree in engineering from an institution that offers EAC/ABET accredited programs, or the equivalent, and with a specific record of 3 years or more of progressive experience
(b) a master’s degree in engineering from an EAC/ABET-accredited master’s program and with a specific record of 3 years or more of progressive experience
(c) a minimum of 30 additional credits from approved course providers and a specific record of 4 years or more of progressive experience . . . All 30 additional credits shall be equivalent in intellectual rigor to upper-level undergraduate and/or graduate courses offered at institutions that have a program accredited by EAC/ABET. Of the minimum required 30 additional credits, a minimum of 15 credits shall be in engineering. The remaining credits may include engineering-related science, mathematics, and/or professional practice topics such as business, communications, contract law, management, ethics, public policy, and quality control.
ASCE will continue in 2010 to expand upon the substantial gains reached for its competency strategy.