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Defining Who Should Teach The Body Of Knowledge

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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

A through K and Beyond

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.393.1 - 10.393.9



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Paper Authors

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Norman Dennis

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


Who Should Teach the Civil Engineering “Body of Knowledge?”

Norman Dennis, Debra Larson University of Arkansas, Fayetteville/Northern Arizona University


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has raised the bar in defining professional status for civil engineers in its Policy Statement 465. In support of that statement ASCE has developed a document that defines the “Body of Knowledge” that should be addressed in civil engineering programs that lead to a professional degree. This paper describes the current efforts by ASCE’s Committee on Faculty Development to define who should teach the body of knowledge. Discussion focuses on faculty credentials, methods of content delivery, and venue of programs, e.g., in-residence versus distance education programs.


Since the mid 1990s ASCE leadership has supported the notion that formal education of civil engineers beyond the baccalaureate degree was required as a prerequisite for professional registration. This concept was initially proposed in 1998 with the moniker “Master’s as the First Professional Degree.” This notion of increased formal education met with some negative reaction from the rank and file membership of ASCE.1 and as a result the ASCE Board of Direction formed the Task Committee for the First Professional Degree to define the need for additional formal education. In October of 2001 that committee produced a report titled “Engineering the Future of Civil Engineering.” This report highlighted the significant changes and complexity confronting the profession and documented the potential risks to public safety health and welfare if the profession did not respond to these changes and complexities. Most importantly, the report concluded that the current four-year bachelor’s degree was becoming inadequate as formal preparation for the professional practice of civil engineering. In November 2001 the ASCE Board of Direction adopted Policy 465 which, in part “supports the concept of the master’s degree or equivalent as a prerequisite for licensure and the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.”[2] In addition to adopting Policy 465 ASCE created the Task Committee on Academic Preparation for Professional Practice (TCAP3) and charged it to “…develop, organize and execute a detailed plan for full realization of the ASCE Policy Statement 465.” This committee, which was later made a board level standing committee (CAP3), formulated the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) which was formally released in January of 2004. As a result of the CAP3 report on the BOK, ASCE’s Policy Statement 465 was revised in October 2004 to reflect the work of the committee. It now states in part that “ASCE…supports the attainment of a Body of Knowledge for entry into the practice of civil engineering at the professional level. This would be accomplished through the adoption of appropriate engineering education and experience requirements as a prerequisite for licensure.”

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

Dennis, N. (2005, June), Defining Who Should Teach The Body Of Knowledge Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14642

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