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Implementation of a Civil Engineering High-impact Learning Practice (HILP) Requirement in Support of ASCE Body of Knowledge (BOK) Outcomes

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

High-impact Learning Practices

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kelly Brumbelow Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kelly Brumbelow is an Associate Professor in the Zachry Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Director of Interdisciplinary Engineering Program Development at Texas A&M University. He has been a faculty member at Texas A&M since 2002, where his technical specialty is water resources engineering, planning, and management. Prior to this position, he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Georgia Tech, where he taught undergraduate courses for 7 years. His professional activities have included projects in East Africa, Central America, the Middle East, Alaska's North Slope, and throughout the "lower 48 states." His current activities at Texas A&M include a wide range of activities with particular emphasis on development of novel interdisciplinary curricula, courses, and experiences.

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Luciana R. Barroso Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Luciana R. Barroso, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She currently also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Services and Chair of the Curriculum and Implementation Team for the department. Luciana has been with Texas A&M University since 1999, and in that time has taught a wide range of courses ranging from the freshman to graduate levels. She has been active in academic program and curriculum development from the department level to the university level, where she served as co-chair of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) committee that determined the academic course of actions to be taken over the next accreditation cycle to addresses critical issues related to enhancing student learning. She has received funding for her engineering education research from the Department of Education FIPSE program and from the National Science Foundation (NSF) CCLI program. She also has been involved in several professional developments that were provided by the Aggie STEM Center to Texas ISD teachers. Her research interests include structural health monitoring and control, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, and engineering education.

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Greg Stadter Texas A&M University

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Greg Stadter received a BS degree in Biology from Texas A&M University in 2008 and a MA degree in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2018. Greg is an academic advisor II for the Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University. Previously, Greg was an academic advisor for the College of Science and Engineering at Texas State University and worked in college ministry for 9 years before moving into higher education.

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A large civil engineering department has added a formal curriculum requirement for the B.S. degree that students participate in a high-impact learning practice (HILP) in support of ASCE Body of Knowledge (BOK) outcomes. This requirement evolved from a holistic curriculum transformation process structured around the ASCE BOK version 2; that process postulated that several BOK outcomes underrepresented in coursework (often labeled the “problem outcomes”) could be addressed through HILPs at the approximate midpoint of the B.S. curriculum. The curricular requirement was instituted in the 2016-2017 academic catalog as a “zero credit hour course” that could be satisfied through a number of civil-engineering focused activities meeting the high-impact learning requirements, such as internship, co-op work semester, study abroad, service learning, undergraduate research, directed studies, co-curricular leadership, and any other experience nominated by a student and approved by the department. The placement of the curricular requirement at the midpoint of the B.S. degree was purposely selected to ensure students had a solid technical foundation prior to the experience and would have the opportunity to apply some of the knowledge gained in their senior-level courses. The first full cohort of students has recently completed the HILP requirement, providing insight into what the students are gaining from this new requirement.

The department’s experience in implementation offers several useful lessons for others considering a similar requirement. Specifically, several components are necessary: a clear statement of the need and desired outcomes of the requirement; a well considered process and system for documentation and assessment; proactive publicity and advising of students to include the requirement in their degree planning; communication to external stakeholders who may mentor students in their HILPs; faculty and staff buy-in to cooperatively administer the requirement; and an appropriate set of rubrics for individual student evaluation, among others. While possible HILPs include several experiences, the overwhelming majority of students participated in summer internships, a sign of a strong job market at present. Student deliverables include: (1) completion of a survey on the importance of each of the BOK2 outcomes in the student’s HILP and the student’s sense of preparedness in each outcome, (2) narrative documentation of the student’s experience using the supplementary experience record form required for P.E. licensure application in the department’s home state, and (3) a reflective essay addressing at least three BOK2 outcomes identified earlier as typically underrepresented in coursework. Preliminary analysis of these deliverables has determined that students find HILPs particularly impactful in addressing the BOK2 outcomes “problem recognition and solving,” “lifelong learning,” and “attitudes,” as evidenced by their frequent choice of these outcomes in their reflective essays. The least frequently chosen outcomes were “globalization,” “social science,” and “contemporary issues and historical perspectives,” suggesting less achievement in these outcomes through this cohort’s chosen HILPs.

Brumbelow, K., & Barroso, L. R., & Stadter, G. (2020, June), Implementation of a Civil Engineering High-impact Learning Practice (HILP) Requirement in Support of ASCE Body of Knowledge (BOK) Outcomes Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34768

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