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Accreditation Insights and the Next Body of Knowledge

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Influencing the Next (Third!) Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Allen C Estes California Polytechnic State University

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Allen C. Estes is a Professor and Head for the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Until January 2007, Dr. Estes was the Director of the Civil Engineering Program at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Al Estes received a B.S. degree from USMA in1978, M.S. degrees in Structural Engineering and in Construction Management from Stanford University in 1987 and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

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Thomas A. Lenox , Dist.M.ASCE, F.ASEE American Society of Civil Engineers

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Thomas A. Lenox, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE is Executive Vice President (Emeritus) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy (USMA), Master of Science degree in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics from Cornell University, Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Long Island University, and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. Dr. Lenox served for over 28 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S Army Field Artillery in a variety of leadership positions in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia. He retired at the rank of Colonel. During his military career, Dr. Lenox spent 15 years on the engineering faculty of USMA – including five years as the Director of the Civil Engineering Division. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1998, he joined the staff of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In his position as educational staff leader of ASCE, he managed several new educational initiatives – collectively labeled as Project ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education). As ASCE’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Lenox led several educational and professional career-development projects for the civil engineering profession – with the overall objective of properly preparing individuals for their futures as civil engineers. An example is his staff leadership of ASCE’s initiative to “Raise the Bar” for entry into professional engineering practice. Dr. Lenox’s recent awards include ASCE’s ExCEEd Leadership Award, ASEE’s George K. Wadlin Award, ASCE’s William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award, and the CE News’ “2010 Power List – 15 People Advancing the Civil Engineering Profession.” In 2013, he was selected as a Distinguished Member of ASCE. In January 2014, Dr. Lenox retired from his staff position with ASCE. He continues to serve the engineering profession as an active member of ABET's Board of Delegates and Global Council, several of ASCE's education and accreditation committees, and ASEE’s Civil Engineering Division.

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Kenneth J. Fridley University of Alabama

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Kenneth J. Fridley is the Senior Associate Dean for Administration at the University of Alabama. Prior to his current appointment, Fridley served as Head of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama for 12 years. Dr. Fridley has been recognized as a dedicated educator throughout his career and has received several awards for his teaching efforts, including the ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Leadership Award in 2010. At the University of Alabama, Fridley has led efforts to establish several new programs including new undergraduate degree programs in construction engineering, architectural engineering and environmental engineering, a departmental Scholars program allowing highly qualified students an accelerated program to earn their MSCE in addition to their BS degree, the interdisciplinary "Cube" promoting innovation in engineering, and the cross-disciplinary MSCE/MBA and MSCE/JD dual-degree programs. Fridley has advised 32 masters and doctoral students to completion. His former students have moved into leadership positions in industry, public service, and academia.

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Richard O. Anderson P.E. Somat Engineering, Inc.

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Mr. Anderson is Chair of the ASCE Civil Engineering Program Criteria Task Committee. He served as ABET President and Chair of the ASCE BOK-2 Committee. He is a consulting geotechnical engineer in Michigan.

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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published the second edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK2) in 2008 expanding the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of future civil engineers. There were major changes to the BOK2 as the number of expected outcomes increased from 15 to 24 and the cognitive level of attainment was more precisely defined. A major implementation and enforcement mechanism for the BOK is the ABET accreditation criteria which includes both general criteria 3 and 5 and the discipline-specific program criteria. Of those, the program criteria are the easiest to change.

In 2013, ASCE created the Civil Engineering Program Criteria Task Committee (CEPCTC) whose charge was to determine if the current CEPC should be changed to reflect an additional one or more of the 24 outcomes of BOK2. After two years of meetings, conference calls, draft criteria, constituency input, and associated revisions, a proposed change to the CEPC was approved by ASCE and submitted to ABET for approval. The CEPC was supplemented with an associated commentary. The proposed CEPC are currently going through the two-year ABET approval process and are expected to go into effect in September 2016. The results of the committee’s work were presented in papers at the 2014 and 2015 ASEE Annual Conferences in Indianapolis and Seattle.1,2 The Body of Knowledge is a living document that will continue to be updated and revised. ASCE has developed an eight year cycle of change that will make future iterations of the BOK and CEPC both systematic and predictable.3 As such, a Body of Knowledge Task Committee (BOKTC) is scheduled to be formed in October 2016. The BOKTC could recommend no revisions, minor revisions, or extensive revisions to BOK2. If substantive changes are recommended to BOK2, the master plan calls for the completion of the third edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century (BOK3) before October 2018.

Because the CEPC was created to be compatible with the BOK2 outcomes, the CEPCTC studied the BOK2 in depth. The BOK2 is an aspirational and visionary document which only partially accounts for the real-world constraints faced by engineering programs in terms of mandated maximum units in an undergraduate program and additional requirements imposed by a state government or a university. Conversely, the ABET accreditation criteria (general plus program) define the minimum requirements for a program to receive accreditation. There will naturally be a gap between those two standards.

For the cycle of change to be successful, the insights and lessons learned from the development of the CEPC should be communicated with the BOKTC and vice versa. This paper attempts to do that. The paper will define the gap between (1) the BOK2 and (2) EAC/ABET accreditation criteria (general plus proposed CEPC) and make recommendations for closing the gap. During their work, the CEPCTC encountered issues with the BOK2 that suggest potential revisions for the BOK3. This paper is a mechanism for sharing CEPCTC insights, lessons learned, suggestions and recommendations with the rest of the academic and professional community.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in 2016. It should be considered for inclusion in the session “Influencing the Next (Third!) Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century” that Tom Lenox is organizing and moderating.

Bibliography 1 Estes, A.C. and Lenox, T.L., “New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: How the Sausage is Being Made” Proceedings of the 2014 Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, June 2014. 2 Estes, A.C., Lenox, T.L., and Anderson, R. “New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: The Rest of the Story” Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, June 2015. 3 Ressler, S.J. and Lynch, D.R., “The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge and Accreditation Criteria: A Plan for Long-Term Management of Change.” Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education, June 2011.

Estes, A. C., & Lenox, T. A., & Fridley, K. J., & Anderson, R. O. (2016, June), Accreditation Insights and the Next Body of Knowledge Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26498

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015