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Eight Factors For Creating An Active Student Professional Society And How It Enhances The Engineering Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Chapters - Formulas for Success

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.474.1 - 8.474.11

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Paper Authors

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Richard Reid

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Charles Tiltrum

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Session Number 3215

Eight Factors for Creating an Active Student Professional Society and How It Enhances the Engineering Curriculum

Richard A. Reid, Ph.D., PE and Charles A. Tiltrum, PE, LS Assistant Dean of Engineering/Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD


In the past four years the South Dakota State University American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter has been recognized as one of the top student chapters in the nation. ASCE has four zones in the United States and the South Dakota State University student chapter has been awarded as the best in their zone three times and the nations top student chapter once. At South Dakota State University, eight factors have been identified as critical to creating this success: 1) outstanding student leaders, 2) younger member involvement, 3) support from the institution, 4) active program, 5) attending ASCE activities away from campus, 6) active practitioner advisor, 7) active advisor, and 8) adequate funds and fund raising activities. The outstanding work of this chapter has complimented the curriculum of the civil engineering department in the following ways: 1) exposure to the practice of engineering and the types of work and contributions they may make as an engineer, 2) creating contacts for summer and post- graduation employment, 3) providing avenues to learn about and exercise social responsibility, 4) exposure to the importance of life-long learning and licensure, 5) development of teamwork, communication, and leadership skills, and 6) service to profession. This paper will provide examples of how the eight factors for a successful chapter are implemented and how the student chapter supports departmental outcomes.


Regardless of the engineering discipline, active student professional societies have often been used to compliment academic programs. Typically, these activities have often been viewed as opportunities to allow practitioners to interact with students and present real- world projects and experience to the students. However, successful student chapters provide much more to their students and departments. When the activities are viewed under the outcomes associated with current ABET accreditation criteria, the benefits of a successful student chapter can enhance the engineering curriculum. This paper will outline the most significant elements required for an active student professional society based on the experience of the South Dakota State University (SDSU) American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter. Additionally, the activities of this chapter will also be evaluated as to how they compliment the curriculum and ABET program outcomes.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Reid, R., & Tiltrum, C. (2003, June), Eight Factors For Creating An Active Student Professional Society And How It Enhances The Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015