June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.128.1 - 15.128.16
Adopting the BOK2: The Quest to Slay the Multi-Headed Hydra
In 2008, the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) published the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, Second Edition (BOK2), reflecting ASCE’s vision of the skills and knowledge the next generation of civil engineers must acquire. The program outcomes set forth in the BOK2 were significantly clearer, specific and detailed than those in the original body of knowledge. The Department of Civil Engineering at Lawrence Technological University decided to adopt the BOK2 in spring 2008 as part of the annual program objectives/outcomes review process. There was extensive debate on the prudence of adopting a new standard just two years before the ABET accreditation visit in 2010. The department’s commitment to continuous improvement, however, was the eventual impetus for adoption of the BOK2. This paper provides an overview of the challenges faced and the various approaches taken by the department in its mission to integrate the BOK2 into the civil engineering program. Similar to battling the mythical Hydra, every time it appeared that a question was satisfactorily addressed, two additional questions arose in its place. It became clear that the department’s quest to slay the Hydra—fully infusing the program with the BOK2 outcomes—could not be accomplished by selectively tweaking courses. Rather, as this paper discusses, a complete review of every aspect of the program was necessary, including the educational objectives, the program outcomes, and the objectives for each required course. Ultimately, it was a two-year process of program assessment, evaluation and modification to fully implement the BOK2.
A. Overview of the Department of Civil Engineering
Lawrence Technological University (Lawrence Tech) is located in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The present-day Department of Civil Engineering (Department) commenced operations in the early 1990’s, and was initially accredited as Civil Engineering by ABET in 1993. There are approximately 160 students in the undergraduate program, including approximately 40 civil engineering/architecture dual degree students.
The Department employs eight full-time faculty members, covering six of the subdisciplines. In a given semester, up to four adjuncts will serve as instructors for the undergraduate program.
To graduate, students are required to pass at least one course in each of the recognized civil engineering subdisciplines: environmental, construction, structural, transportation, water resources, geotechnical and surveying. Students may then specialize in one or more of the subdisciplines by enrolling in several available electives. To complete their education, students participate in a two-course capstone design sequence during their senior year.
Historically, a majority of civil engineering graduates find employment in southeastern Michigan. Over the last couple of years, however, a growing number of graduates are accepting
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