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Introducing Students To Civil Engineering

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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

Effective Learning Innovations in Civil Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.980.1 - 12.980.12



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Paper Authors


Jason Evers United States Military Academy

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Major Jason A. Evers, P.E., is an instructor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. He earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University in 1995 and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington in 2005. He commanded an engineer company in Iraq and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Washington.

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C. Conley

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Dr Christopher H. Conley is an Associate Professor and Director of the Civil Engineering Research Center at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. He earned a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts in 1978 and his M.S. and PhD in Structural Engineering from Cornell University in 1980 and 1983. He is active in research with various U.S. Army labs on testing and modeling blast loading.

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James Ledlie Klosky

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Dr J Ledlie Klosky, P.E., is an Associate Professor and Director of the Mechanics Group at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY. He earned a B.S. and M.S. degree from Virginia Tech in 1987 and 1989 and his PhD from the University of Colorado in 1997. He is the winner of the national ASEE 2004 Best Zone Paper award and is editor of the McGraw-Hill website

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

Introducing Students to Civil Engineering Abstract

CE390 Civil Engineering Site Design can be an essential course for any undergraduate civil engineering (CE) program. It introduces the profession of civil engineering to students early in their development as engineers, providing them with both direction and purpose in their education. Through this course they are introduced to the wide range of career possibilities in civil engineering, and are also shown the logic behind the rest of the curriculum that leads up to the granting of their Bachelor of Science degree in CE. The course was originally developed out of the recognition that even though a cadet had chosen to major in civil engineering, they probably knew little of the breadth of the profession. Further, in the confines of harmonizing an accredited civil engineering program with the extensive mandatory core curriculum at the United States Military Academy (26 courses of shared content unified across all majors), all of which MUST be completed in four (4) years; there is not enough room to cover all of the major disciplines of civil engineering. CE390 provides at least an introduction to several topics in CE that are not otherwise presented in the CE curriculum, nor are available through electives. CE390 is used to educate cadets about civil engineering through an exploration of civil engineering site development and design, and in the process demonstrates how the CE curriculum works to give the students the background needed to design and develop this infrastructure. The course is used to introduce students to visualization through hand sketching, and to introduce Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) modeling and engineering calculation software. The basics of systems engineering are also presented as a problem solving approach useful in any engineering discipline. As there isn’t room in our curriculum for a transportation engineering course, students are exposed to earthwork calculations, geometrical and structural issues of roadway construction, horizontal and vertical curves, site distances, and the basics of runway layout and design. Finally, basic surveying focusing on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology and an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are provided as necessary background for understanding modern CE practice. Through the evolution of this course, two other benefits are coming to light. First, by framing this course around site design it can provide the common link through which a student’s capstone design experience can be incorporated throughout the curriculum. The United States Military Academy (USMA) is currently experimenting with conducting initial site design for a project in CE 390, then using soil from the actual site for testing in the geotechnical engineering course, and conducting a hydrological study of the same site in the hydraulics/hydrology course. This work will be extended and integrated with structural engineering, construction management and other aspects of the project as the students work to complete their capstone experience. The other useful feature of the course is that it is also proving to be a convenient vehicle for discussing or incorporating advances in technology and discussing current events. CE390 is an excellent method for introducing and evaluating some of the American Society of Civil Engineers developed Body of Knowledge outcomes that are more difficult to judge performance in with more traditional CE courses.

Evers, J., & Conley, C., & Klosky, J. L. (2007, June), Introducing Students To Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2364

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