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An Evaluation of the Participation of the Citizen Engineer

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Public Policy in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.169.1 - 22.169.16



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Paper Authors


Tom C. Roberts P.E. Kansas State University

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Assistant Dean, Recruitment and Leadership Development, College of Engineering, Kansas State University
Tom has more than 35 years experience in planning, organizational development, and leadership training programs. He worked for Black & Veatch for 16 years, formed Upward Consulting in 1989 and has served as a learning organization and process improvement consultant for a number of manufacturing and service companies, and educational institutions. Tom is past KSPE president, has assisted in several political campaigns, helped facilitate several citizen engineer workshops, and is an elected precinct committeeman.

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AN EVALUATION OF PARTICIPATION OF THE CITIZEN ENGINEERABSTRACTIn 2004, ASEE President Sherra Kerns challenged members to imagine an age of the CitizenEngineer – socially conscious engineers engaged in proactively tackling the challenges that facethe world today.Participation in the political process is one key aspect to being an effective “Citizen Engineer”.Since 2004, the authors have surveyed practicing professionals and conducted workshops atASEE Midwest Section, Kansas Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE) meetings and the2009 Kansas Transportation Conference to encourage participation in the political process.Survey questions were asked to determine practicing professional levels of interest andparticipation in federal, state, and local issues. The surveys also identified areas whereparticipants might take the time to be involved.Workshop materials included information on Federal/Regional/State/Local Initiatives,summarized barriers to participation, and provided information on actions to take to become aneffective citizen engineer. Survey results reveal significantly high levels of voter registration andparticipation in the election process. However, survey results also reveal limited contact withstate and local politicians and almost no contact with elected state and local school boardofficials.Recommendations for future action include: Continue workshops to better educate engineers onactions to take in the political process, provide engineers with candidate information anddates/times to meet with elected officials, support political action committees, and assistengineers in running for office and serving on advisory boards.

Roberts, T. C. (2011, June), An Evaluation of the Participation of the Citizen Engineer Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17451

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