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Career Paths in Structural Engineering: What We Can Learn from the SE3 (Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity) Report

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Management Division 1: The Practice of EMD

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Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Christina McCoy P.E. Oklahoma State University

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Professor McCoy is a licensed Structural Engineer and Architect. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Architectural Engineering and a Bachelor in Architecture from Oklahoma State University. She holds a Masters of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and Masters of Civil Engineering (Structural Emphasis) from the University of Kansas. She worked in the structural engineering profession for 10 years before joining the full-time Architectural Engineering faculty at Oklahoma State University School of Architecture.

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Carisa H. Ramming Oklahoma State University

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Carisa Ramming is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she obtained degrees in Architectural Engineering and Civil Engineering Construction Management. She worked in industry for six years as licensed engineer and structural consultant for Wallace Engineering in Tulsa, OK before returning to Oklahoma State as a visiting faculty member in the School of Architecture. In 2009, Professor Ramming joined the faculty full time as an assistant professor of architectural engineering. Since that time, she has taught classes in structural analysis, timber and steel design, engineering mechanics: statics, building foundations and numerical analysis. Professor Ramming has recently been named Halliburton Outstanding Young Faculty and the Outstanding Teacher for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. She has also published books for Project Lead the Way and a text on Numerical Structural Analysis. Professor Ramming enjoys spending time with the students of CEAT as the advisor of the Architectural Engineering Institute, Tau Beta Pi, Women Inspiring Successful Engineers, and CEAT Student Council.

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In 2016, the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California embarked on a nation-wide survey of structural engineers to assess the cultural climate in the profession. The committee conducting the report was entitled “Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity” (SE3), and the survey results along with the associated report has been termed the “SE3 report”. The report gave insight into several areas, including pay equity, time management, and career development. Since publication of the report, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) has formed its own SE3 committee, with the goal of conducting a similar survey biennially; the first survey was issued in 2018. Conclusions from the 2018 SE3 report seek to inform engineering firms as to how to improve work place culture in order address areas of inequity within the profession and understand how to retain talent from a diverse population of engineers. This paper examines how these findings can be used to prepare a similar diverse group of students to enter the workplace with the tools to craft a successful career path. Further, it discusses how engineering management education programs can incorporate the topics highlighted by the NCSEA SE3 committee concerning strategies that firm leadership can implement on the management level to address employee values that the report shows to be undervalued. The survey results highlight the importance of certain employee skills, such as negotiation and stress management. Conclusions also identify the importance of finding a mentor. In addition, the report finds a strong link between the perception of management involvement and communication to job satisfaction. This link is even, perhaps surprisingly, stronger than that between compensation and job satisfaction. Entry-level engineers and managers can both benefit by understanding such implications and others from the report. This knowledge can open up a multitude of strategies to capitalize on the growing interest within the structural engineering profession to recruit and retain talent of all backgrounds.

McCoy, C., & Ramming, C. H. (2020, June), Career Paths in Structural Engineering: What We Can Learn from the SE3 (Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity) Report Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34261

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