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Key Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession - and ASCE - Part 1
The engineering profession is dealing with more frequent and fervent attacks on licensure requirements for professional engineering. These attacks generally center around two issues: the relevance and need for licensure in today’s society, and concerns over barriers into entry to the profession. ASCE has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the licensure of civil engineers, the jurisdiction of civil engineers, and to make licensure of civil engineers more relevant in our changing world.
ASCE published the first edition of The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CE-BOK1) in 2004, which defines the necessary depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of all civil engineers in responsible charge of civil engineering. CE-BOK1 made clear that a civil engineering baccalaureate degree from an ABET-accredited program provides insufficient academic preparation for licensure as a professional engineer. Subsequently, ASCE attempted to influence licensing laws to increase the minimum educational requirements for licensure to address this deficiency. These previous efforts were unsuccessful as state licensing boards refused to seriously consider the need, thereby signaling that licensure is only a measure of minimal competency to practice. In light of this reality, ASCE has re-formed into the Engineer Tomorrow initiative. The goal of the Engineer Tomorrow initiative is to promote fulfillment of the CEBOK as the necessary prerequisite for individuals serving in responsible charge of significant civil engineering services to protect public health, safety and welfare.
ASCE recently completed work on the third edition of The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CE-BOK3). What this version of the CE-BOK makes clear, perhaps even more than previous versions, is the need for civil engineers to pursue post-graduate education along with structured mentorship and self-development to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes. In many respects, the newest version of the CE-BOK places higher expectations on civil engineers than earlier versions. It is also clear that licensure, as it exists in all jurisdictions, does not ensure fulfillment of the CE-BOK. The gap that remains between the expectations of the civil engineering profession and the reality imposed by largely intransient licensing boards is the driving focus of ASCE’s Engineer Tomorrow effort.
The purpose of this paper is to answer the following research questions: • From ASCE’s perspective, what are the ongoing threats to licensure as a professional engineer? • Why do future civil engineers need to fulfill the CE-BOK to meet ever-changing societal needs and expectations? • How can ASCE’s “Engineer Tomorrow” Initiative shape the civil engineer of the future?
Based on the answers to these questions, the authors conclude with recommendations.
COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE in June 2020. It should be considered for inclusion in the sessions on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that Leslie Nolan and Tom Lenox are organizing.
Aldrich, B., & Rosenfield, K. H., & Walton, M. A., & Hofmann, J. (2020, June), Countering Threats to Licensure with ASCE’s Engineer Tomorrow Initiative Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34339
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