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Implementing Sustainability In The Engineering Curriculum: Realizing The Asce Body Of Knowledge

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Implementing the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge into Courses and Curricula

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.846.1 - 12.846.19



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Paper Authors


Daniel Lynch Dartmouth College

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Daniel R. Lynch is Maclean Professor of Engineering Sciences at Dartmouth College. He is chair of the Sustainability subcommittee of ASCE's BOK2 committee, and a corresponding member of ASCE's Technical Activities Committee on Sustainabiliity.

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William Kelly Catholic University of America

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William E. Kelly is Professor of Civil Engineering and former Dean of Engineering at The Catholic University of America. He is Vice-Chair of the Center for Global Standards Analysis at CUA; a Fellow of ASCE; and member of ASCE's Technical Activities Committee on Sustainability.

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Manoj Jha Morgan State University

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Manoj K. Jha is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Morgan State University. He is a member of ASCE's BOK2 Committee and chairs its subcommittee on Globalization.

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Ronald Harichandran Michigan State University

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Ronald S. Harichandran is Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University. He is a Fellow of ASCE and serves on the its Accreditation and BOK2 Committees, and is chairman of the Michigan Transportation Research Board.

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

Implementing Sustainability in the Engineering Curriculum: Realizing the ASCE Body of Knowledge


ASCE has committed the profession to sustainability for at least a decade. The implied educa- tional imperative is for a broader and deeper preparation of new engineers, and at the same time, of the practicing profession. The ASCE committee working on the second edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge has embraced sustainability as an independent technical out- come; and has set out specific levels of cognitive achievement required of all engineers prior to licensure. Herein, we discuss the elements of a university program including the sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable infrastructure, sustainable production of goods and services, and a research agenda. We also comment on the implied experiential component required beyond the university.


Sustainability is cited as the top systems integration problem facing engineering today and into the futurei. This is corroborated by the Joint Charterii among the American Society of Civil Engi- neers (ASCE), the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE), and the Institution of Civil En- gineers (ICE), wherein professional responsibility is asserted for realizing sustainable civil soci- ety across all peoples and through time. Codes of Engineering Ethics from ASCE and the Na- tional Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) reinforce this responsibility. Further, the re- cently-announced aspirational vision of the civil engineering professionvii embodies this goal. Broadly consistent with all previous statements about the purpose of engineering, these recent documents extend beyond technological competence to professional responsibility or outcomes; and the outcomes include human rights, the environment, and the stewardship of natural re- sources as the fundamental basis of technological progress.

Profound adjustment to the reality of the commitment is required now on the part of today’s edu- cators and the rising generation of engineers. Not only must engineers be capable of recognizing sustainable works and services; they must also claim responsibility for implementing it, and seek social acceptance of that role. The latter requires the delegation of substantive authority in lim- ited spheres of operation, and a means of licensing to recognize capable individuals. This is a tall order and requires thorough supplements and refinements in education in order to impact the pro- fession. Not only must the education be placed on an expanding base of sound learning; it must also produce substantive communication among engineers, other professionals, and the service population in all of its complexity.

The efforts at updating the Civil Engineering (CE) Body of Knowledge (BOK)iii required for li- censure as a professional engineer, have embraced sustainability as a fundamental outcome. This implies that every civil engineer must have mastered this minimum BOK acquired through dem- onstrated and approved channels prior to licensure.

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Lynch, D., & Kelly, W., & Jha, M., & Harichandran, R. (2007, June), Implementing Sustainability In The Engineering Curriculum: Realizing The Asce Body Of Knowledge Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2794

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