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Basic Elements Of The 21 St Century Body Of Knowledge For A Construction Professional: Challenges For Construction Educators

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Trends in Construction Engineering I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.248.1 - 10.248.8



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Paper Authors

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Virendra Varma

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

Session 1121

Basic Elements of the 21st Century Body of Knowledge for a Construction Professional: Challenges for Construction Educators

Virendra K. Varma, Ph.D., P.E. Missouri Western State College


The American Society of Civil Engineers has recently released a report, “Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century: Preparing the Civil Engineer for the Future.” It calls for sweeping changes in the way we will teach and train our future civil engineers. Since civil engineering and construction are closely related, and go hand in hand, it is important to review our current body of knowledge imparted in a four-year graduate of a construction degree program. It is equally important to devise a curriculum suited for a future construction professional that parallels the educational preparation of a future civil engineering graduate. This paper presents the basic elements of a current four-year educational program for a construction professional, and compares with an educational program that would be more suited for a future construction professional. This paper presents a proactive approach to developing broad-based knowledge, requisite skills, attitudes, and integrity in a future construction graduate. It stresses understanding of issues such as 21st century global business economy, and multi-cultural teams; it also lays the foundation for strong understanding of world cultures, languages, and local practices in the context of international collaborations on small to mega construction projects. The future construction professional will be required to be grounded in ethical decision-making, and more versatile in life long learning aspirations. The future role of educators will continue to include characteristics such as scholarly faculty, effective teaching, and practice-oriented teaching and research.


Today’s world is a lot different than the world of the yester years, and so are the civil engineering projects. As a result of greater public awareness of the environmental concerns and sustainable development, complexity in design and construction has arisen in virtually all major infrastructure projects. The recently released report of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century: Preparing the Civil Engineer for the Future (1) states, “Today’s world is fundamentally challenging the way civil engineering is practiced. Complexity arises in every aspect of projects, from pre-project planning with varied stakeholders to building with minimum environmental and community disturbance.” Aware of these problems of increased complexity of modern-day civil engineering practice, and inadequate academic preparation of BS-degreed civil engineering graduates due to reductions in credit hours required for graduation at colleges and universities, it was determined that the graduates of the current four-year baccalaureate degree programs were ill-prepared for the practice

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright©2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Varma, V. (2005, June), Basic Elements Of The 21 St Century Body Of Knowledge For A Construction Professional: Challenges For Construction Educators Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15146

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