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Lessons Learned in Developing the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, Third Edition

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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

Key Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession - and ASCE - Part 2

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Decker B Hains P.E. Western Michigan University

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Dr. Decker B. Hains is a Master Faculty Specialist in the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at Western Michigan University. He is a retired US Army Officer serving 22 years on active duty with the US Army Corps of Engineers and taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from USMA in 1994, Master of Science degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage in Arctic Engineering in 1998 and Missouri University Science & Technology in Civil Engineering in 1999, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 2004. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan.

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Kenneth J. Fridley University of Alabama

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Kenneth J. Fridley is the Senior Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at The University of Alabama. Prior to his current appointment, Fridley served as Professor and Head of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama. Dr. Fridley has been recognized as a dedicated educator throughout his career and has received several awards for his teaching efforts, including the ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Leadership Award in 2010. At the University of Alabama, Fridley has led efforts to establish several new programs including new undergraduate degree programs in construction engineering, architectural engineering and environmental engineering, a departmental Scholars program allowing highly qualified students an accelerated program to earn their MSCE in addition to their BS degree, the interdisciplinary "Cube" promoting innovation in engineering, and the cross-disciplinary MSCE/MBA and MSCE/JD dual-degree programs.

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Leslie Nolen American Society of Civil Engineers

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Leslie Nolen, CAE, serves as director, educational activities for the American Society of Civil Engineers. She brings over 20 years of association management experience to her work with ASCE's Committee on Education on issues of importance to the undergraduate and graduate level education of civil engineers.

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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently published the Third Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK3) in May 2019. The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 3 Task Committee (CEBOK3TC) officially formed in October 2016 and spent approximately two and a half years developing the third edition. The third edition defines the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to exercise responsible charge in the practice of civil engineering which are attained through undergraduate and post-graduate engineering education, mentored experience, and self-development. Like its predecessors, the CEBOK3 features an outcomes-based approach with associated levels of achievement.

The successful processes and the associated lessons learned from the CEBOK3TC must be clearly communicated to those interested in how the CEBOK3 was developed and those who will be involved in future Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) efforts. CEBOK3 stands on the foundations created by the previous task committees and much was learned from the experiences in the development of previous editions of the CEBOK. Learned experiences from the CEBOK3TC should also guide the preparation of future editions of the CEBOK and assist in advancing the profession. As Adlai E. Stevenson once said, “We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.”

This paper provides a comprehensive overview and summary of lessons learned from the process of developing the CEBOK3. The CEBOK3TC built on the best practices and lessons of the past and the authors capture lessons learned from leading the committee. The paper begins with a discussion on the committee selection process, committee structure (including corresponding members), the committee charge, and the initial plan to complete the charges. The discussion on the comprehensive literature review and constituent survey process follows and includes information on the organization of subcommittee back-briefs and summaries. The committee leadership also introduced the concept of editing task groups to first complete a review of the outcome rubrics, then a review of the outcome explanations, and finally, a comprehensive review of the final completed draft for committee review. The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the final review and copy-editing process, and recommendations for the next CEBOK task committee.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of the coordinators of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE in June 2020. It should be considered for inclusion in the session(s) on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE” that Leslie Nolen and Tom Lenox are organizing.

Hains, D. B., & Fridley, K. J., & Nolen, L. (2020, June), Lessons Learned in Developing the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, Third Edition Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34913

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