The Board of Direction completed its year together with a highly productive virtual fall meeting, Oct. 26-27.

Most notable was the board’s approval of a complete update to the Society Code of Ethics.

The new streamlined code emphasizes usability and enforceability, modernizing the language while dispensing with the previous document’s canon model and instead creating a hierarchy of stakeholders within an engineer’s ethical responsibilities.

“It has been a while since we had a comprehensive review of our Code of Ethics, so it was time that we did one,” said ASCE 2020 President K.N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE. “The new code language is simple, inclusive, and hopefully comprehensive in terms of our understanding of the engineering practice. More importantly, it lists an engineer’s obligation by specific priority so that there is no confusion or conflict.”

Read more about the new Code of Ethics.

Focus on students

Student voting will be on the 2021 ASCE election ballot after the board voted to approve on second reading a constitutional amendment prepared by the Governing Documents Committee.

The amendment will require two-thirds approval from voting members next spring to go into effect.

The board also voted to support the Committee on Student Conferences and Competitions’ proposal for realigning the annual student conferences within the boundaries of the Society’s geographic regions. The move further connects the student experience with the overarching ASCE experience.

“Our students are the future of the profession and the organization,” Gunalan said.

And in another show of emphasis on campus life, the Student Presidential Group, a team of ASCE student leaders that has regularly met with 2020 President-Elect Jean-Louis Briaud, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, during the past year, presented a list of potential suggestions for improving student engagement. At its January meeting, the board will consider a refined set of those ideas for implementation.

“They feel that they now have a voice, and I think that’s going to help a lot with their transition into ASCE as professionals,” Briaud said.

Message to Life Members

After considering extensive feedback from current Life Members, the board voted last week to rescind its July decision to change Life Member criteria and fees. As a result, the terms, criteria, and dues structure for Life Membership will remain exactly as they have been in recent years.

“We appreciate the heartfelt comments we received. Board members were profoundly moved by how meaningful ASCE membership has been to our Life Members,” Gunalan said. “As always, we encourage our Life Members to continue helping the organization advance its mission, grow our membership, and support our Foundation.”

Other highlights

• The board approved a modified version of a set of Task Committee on Committee Realignment recommendations to further streamline the organizational structure and better align with recent staff reorganization. Among the changes, the Committee on Sustainability moves to the Committee on Technical Advancement and the Committee on Precollege Outreach will report to the Member Communities Committee.

• The board voted to revise ASCE Policy Statement 417, retitling it from “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion” to “Justice, Equity, Diversity, And Inclusion,” while making the language more world-centric.

• The Board received an update on Future World Vision, which debuted the Mega-City prototype last week at the ASCE 2020 Convention, and approved the plan to continue funding the project into 2021 through the current donations model.

• The Task Committee on Credentialing proposed a new certification program for early-to-midcareer professionals that would validate the cross-specialty and specialty-specific knowledge and skills critical to civil engineering practice. The Board voted to form a task committee to investigate the potential program further in a more comprehensive manner giving due consideration of the Society’s existing academies.

Board farewells

Last week marked the final meeting for seven departing board members – Robin Kemper, P.E., LEED AP, ENV SP, F.SEI, F.ASCE (2020 past-president); Kwame Agyare, P.E., M.ASCE (Region 9 director); Marsha Anderson Bomar, AICP, F.ASCE (technical region director); Tony Cioffi, P.E., F.ASCE (Region 1 director); Jennifer Epp, P.E., F.ASCE (treasurer); Roger Millar Jr., P.E., AICP, F.ASCE (at-large director); and Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE (Region 5 director).

“It has been the highlight of my civil engineering career to date,” Agyare said in his farewell address to his fellow directors.