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Civil Engineering Students' Viewpoints on Teaching, Learning, and Careers

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Viewpoints, Perspectives, and Creativity in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Seamus F Freyne P.E. Mississippi State University

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On the civil engineering faculty at Mississippi State University, Seamus Freyne teaches structures courses and his research interests include engineering education.

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Veera Gnaneswar Gude P.E. Mississippi State University

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Veera Gnaneswar Gude is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Mississippi State University. He has degrees in chemical (BS) and environmental engineering (MS, PhD) disciplines. He has academic, industrial, and research experiences on various chemical and environmental engineering projects. He is a licensed professional engineer and a board certified environmental engineer. His research interests include algal biofuels, bioelectrochemical systems, desalination, and sustainability. Educational activities include enhancing critical thinking skills and metacognitive abilities in civil and environmental engineering students.

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Dennis D. Truax Mississippi State University

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Dr. Dennis D. Truax, P.E., BCEE, F.ASCE, is Head and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Mississippi State University. He is in his tenth year as the James T. White Endowed Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering and serves as Director of the Mississippi Transportation Research Center (MTRC). A member of the faculty for 36 years, he is a licensed professional engineer and board-certified environmental engineer. During his academic career, he has published over 100 refereed and reference papers and report and made almost 170 papers and poster presentations. While much of his externally-funded research has focused of environmental and water resources engineering, his work in the areas of education, transportation, and construction has included improving instructional processes in laboratories, delineation of roadway systems and NEPA compliance for highways using remotely-sense data, modeling highway evacuation strategies and environmental impacts for predicting pavement performance, evaluating resources and their allocation in the management of waterways, and comparing the economics of transportation management alternatives.

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What do civil engineering students think about the undergraduate program, both in and out of class, and the job prospects ahead? Some 161 students at Mississippi State University, freshmen to seniors, recently provided candid responses to a survey that asked them about teaching, learning, and careers.

It was discovered that some 63% of the respondents are guardians, which is one of the four temperament types according to the Keirsey test, which students were asked take before this survey. Only 40% of the general population are considered guardians.

Some 54% of students said they joined a professional society like ASCE, and 20% of those active in ASCE were members of the concrete canoe or steel bridge teams.

Surprisingly few students said high grades were more important than communication and interpersonal skills and previous work experience when it comes to the job search and early job success.

Some 65% of respondents said a master’s degree would help advance their careers, while 58% plan to pursue a master’s degree at some point.

The objective of this preliminary study was to improve students’ experiences and outcomes. The information collected here is likely applicable elsewhere.

Freyne, S. F., & Gude, V. G., & Truax, D. D. (2016, June), Civil Engineering Students' Viewpoints on Teaching, Learning, and Careers Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26497

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