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A Practitioner ? Faculty Collaboration In Teaching Civil Engineering Design

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Who Should Teach the BOK

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.92.1 - 12.92.16



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Paper Authors


Waddah Akili Iowa State University

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Waddah Akili has been in the academic arena for over 35 years. He has held academic positions at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Penna (66-69), at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (69-87), and at The University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar (87-00). Professor Akili’s major field is geotechnical engineering and materials. His research work & experience include: characterization of arid and semi arid soils, piled foundation, pavement design & materials, and concrete durability. His interests also include: contemporary issues of engineering education in general, and those of the Middle East and the Arab Gulf States, in particular

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Practitioner - Faculty Collaboration in Teaching Civil Engineering Design


Teaching civil engineering design through senior projects or capstone design courses, with industry involvement and support, has increased in recent years. The general trend toward increasing the design component in engineering curricula is part of an effort to better prepare graduates for engineering practice. While some design projects are still of the “made up” type carried out by individual students, the vast majority of projects today deal with “real-world problems” and are usually conducted by student teams. The paper begins first by briefly reviewing the design as a “thought” process, focusing on several dimensions of “design thinking” and how “design thinking” skills are acquired. Second, the paper reports on the development, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of a senior design course at an international university, where practitioners have played a major role in planning and teaching the capstone course. The new, restructured design course, co-taught by practitioners from the Region, has met its declared objectives and exposed students to professional practice. This industry-driven experience has also provided information with regard to curricular content and capabilities of departmental graduates. In a way, the capstone experience reported on in this paper, serves as a microcosm of the four year program. Experiences and outputs from the course can be used to provide guidance and insights into curricular changes, teaching methods, and exposure to civil engineering practice in the Region; and helps in establishing enduring connections with the industrial sector.


Design is widely considered to be the central and the most distinguishing activity of civil engineering. It has also long been understood that engineering institutions should graduate engineers who could design effectively to meet societal needs. Historically, engineering curricula have been based largely on an “engineering science” model, referred to as the “Grinter Model”, in which engineering is taught only after a solid basis in science and mathematics(1) .The resulting engineering graduates were perceived by industry and academia, at the time, as being “ill-prepared” for the practice. Despite steps taken to remedy the situation, through greater industry-academia collaboration; both design faculty and design practitioners argue that further improvements are necessary. Design faculty across the country and across a range of educational institutions still feel that the leaders of engineering schools( deans, department heads, tenured

Akili, W. (2007, June), A Practitioner ? Faculty Collaboration In Teaching Civil Engineering Design Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2100

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