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Innovations In Construction Engineering Education: Rudiments Of A Senior Level Topics Course

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Trends in Construction Engineering I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.737.1 - 9.737.7



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Paper Authors

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Virendra Varma

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

Session 1121

Innovations in Construction Engineering Education: Rudiments of a Senior-Level Topics Course Virendra K. Varma, Ph.D., P.E. Missouri Western State College


There is an urgency for reform in engineering education. The new accreditation criteria EC2000, and TC2K of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for accrediting engineering and technology programs respectively, encourage innovations in curriculum design. The criteria are outcomes-based, and non-prescriptive. However, there are constraints in what educational institutions can and can not do, as for example, there are limits to the number of hours that institutions can require for a baccalaureate degree. Additionally, the accredited programs must comply with accrediting agency’s criteria. The TC2K criteria, for instance, states, “……the technical content is limited to no more than 2/3 the total credit hours for the program.” This puts a tremendous strain on the program faculty to devise curriculums that are state-of-the-art, current in content, and relevant in terms of technological advancements in their particular field. Since a new course for every new advancement cannot be realistically created, it almost becomes mandatory to design a current topics course under a broad umbrella of that particular field. Such a course design is discussed in this paper. The name of the course is Current Topics in Construction, and the description of the course has been deliberately kept loose and flexible to accommodate new developments occurring in the construction field. Issues such as advancements in materials, construction methods and techniques, project delivery systems, performance-based specifications, certain court decisions, etc. have been given coverage in the past in this course. Some questions faced by engineers and contractors in the day-to-day problem-ridden practice are routinely discussed in the class to keep students up-to-date and current to form a strong fundamental body of knowledge. The students enjoy the format of the course which in essence, is that of a Senior Seminar course. The students are immersed in the research aspect of the course, and are actively involved in learning. This course has not stopped evolving since its inception because it is designed to evolve and change with time. In that sense alone, the course is a success.


For years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been working on Policy Statement 465 which states that , “admission to the practice of civil engineering at the professional level should occur at licensure and that this admission should require the acquisition of a body of specialized knowledge comprising a bachelor’s degree , a master’s degree or its equivalent, and appropriate experience.” (1) The body of knowledge points to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become licensed as a professional engineer. It is expected that existing undergraduate and graduate programs will be revised to reflect this body of knowledge and that new programs will be created.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright©2004, American Society for Engineering Education”

Varma, V. (2004, June), Innovations In Construction Engineering Education: Rudiments Of A Senior Level Topics Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13358

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