June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
In the 2004 report “The Engineer of 2020,” the National Academy of Engineering makes the bold contention that engineering is the liberal arts education of the 21st-Century. This contention stands in contrast to more widespread notions about engineers in general and civil engineers in particular. A 2010 article entitled “Engineering Perception” in AIChE ChEnected indicates that engineers see themselves as "book-smart", "socially challenged," and "myopic,” hardly the characteristics of a liberally educated individual. A 2011 article in IEEE Insights entitled “Engineers: Public Perception Matters” states “In the US, however, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.” And yet another editorial in Leadership and Management in Engineering in 2004 indicates that many perceive civil engineering in particular as no longer being considered a serious field of pursuit, that it does not have the cutting edge cachet of other fields more popular in the 21st century. The authors of this paper, while taking exception to the negative popular perceptions of civil engineering, offer a refinement on the National Academy’s view by contending, not that civil engineering is a liberal arts education, but that it might well be seen as the archetypal liberal education degree of the 21st century. This contention, the authors believe, is supported by the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, the ASCE Code of Ethics, and state licensing laws for engineering. In this paper the authors discuss a 21st-Century liberal education and its historic roots, and then demonstrate why a civil engineering education is indeed a liberal education of the 21st-Century.
Cutrer, E. F., & Nelson, M. M., & Nelson, J. K. (2019, June), Civil Engineering: A Liberal Education Degree of the 21st Century Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32508
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