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Policy Statement 140 - Civil Engineering Education

 

Approved by the Educational Activities Committee on July 1, 2009
Approved by the Policy Review Committee on September 8, 2009
Adopted by the Board of Direction on October 26, 2009

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will participate in and influence the formal education of the civil engineering community, which is a shared responsibility of educators and practitioners.

Issue

Formal education for members of the civil engineering community is provided through programs leading to baccalaureate and advanced degrees in civil engineering and related programs and associate and baccalaureate degrees in civil engineering Technology and related programs. This education must provide the ability to comprehend and adapt to continuing changes in scientific, technological, economic, social and political arenas of a diversified global society. The involvement of practitioners in the formal education process will improve civil engineering education, while demonstrating the challenge and the satisfaction of civil engineering.

Educators are expected to involve practicing professionals in the planning, design, and implementation of degree programs. Engineering faculties should include educators who are role models for aspiring practicing engineers and who can bring the current and future demands of engineering practice realistically into the classroom.

Employers have the obligation to encourage and support employees in continuing their professional development through graduate schooling and continuing education programs. Employees should be encouraged to participate in civil engineering departmental advisory committees and to support educators by teaching, supporting student chapters, sponsoring co-op and internship students, assisting in the assessment of program outcomes, and otherwise partnering with educators. Employers should encourage and support employee participation in ASCE professional, educational, and technical committees and in American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and other engineering education and engineering technology endeavors.

ASCE has the obligation to promote excellence in civil engineering education nationally. ASCE must continue to sponsor and encourage vital discussions of engineering education issues and practices through Society conferences, congresses, and other venues. ASCE will partner with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) to involve practitioners in the processes to assure appropriate accreditation standards and procedures for civil engineering and related programs. ASCE will promote excellence in student chapters through encouraging active participation by practitioners as well as educators in chapter development and activities. ASCE will continue, nationally and locally, to promote and support student scholarships for civil engineering students.

Sections and Branches of ASCE perform especially valuable roles in enhancing partnerships between educators and practitioners locally and regionally. Sections and Branches should sponsor technical meetings, facilitate the participation of practitioners in classroom teaching, provide direct support to student chapters, and initiate opportunities for dialogue between educators and practitioners. They should keep practitioners informed of resource needs of educational programs and facilitate resource support from engineering practice to universities and other educational programs. ASCE should engage educators in Section and Branch leadership positions and involve educators in the work of the Section and Branch.

Lifelong learning by practicing civil engineers is a hallmark of our profession. Employers and other practitioners should engage university educators through all appropriate means in continuing education endeavors. Educators should continue to serve civil engineering and civil engineering technology practice by bringing timely knowledge and applications of new technologies to the practice community. ASCE leaders at all levels should advocate and support continued career development of civil engineers and civil engineering technologists through educator-practitioner partnering.

Rationale

ASCE and individual member practitioners in the private, public and education sectors are responsible for participating in educational activities, both on and off campus. Ongoing cooperation and effective collaboration among faculties and practicing civil engineers and technologists is essential for our profession to continue to meet the changing needs of industry and society. Practitioner involvement in ABET activities at all levels is vital to the continuing improvement of civil engineering education programs to meet the needs of engineering practice. All parties benefit when practitioners and educators collaborate to produce excellent continuing education programs. In recognizing all these shared responsibilities, practitioners and educators should accept the obligation and opportunities to work as partners in university endeavors, in the workplace, and throughout civil engineering education to educate and develop civil engineers and civil engineering technologists at all stages of their careers.

Elements of this policy include:

  • Participating responsibly and effectively in the accreditation activities of ABET;
  • Assisting in informing the public about and attracting high quality students to careers in civil engineering and civil engineering technology;
  • Encouraging diversity and flexibility in academic programs providing prerequisites for professional practice;
  • Maintaining a professional environment that will attract, develop and retain high quality faculty;
  • Providing a full range of education and training to develop and keep current the knowledge, capabilities and skills of all individuals in the civil engineering community;
  • Motivating and providing opportunities for the civil engineering community to continue professional development to ensure the profession is responsive to changing technology and social needs;
  • Developing and implementing programs that provide interaction among students, educators and practitioners, including provisions for career mobility between academia and practice and a broad spectrum of ASCE activities;
  • Encouraging academic institutions to assess achievements in teaching, research, practice and service to the profession when evaluating a faculty member;
  • Supporting a vibrant student chapter, that is expected to have an actively participating faculty advisor and one or more practitioner advisors; and
  • Supporting a department advisory committee comprised of practitioners who are ASCE members and are dedicated to excellence in civil engineering education.

ASCE Policy Statement 140