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Linking Courses And Essential Experiences In An Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Curriculum

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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

Opportunities in Environmental Engineering Curriculum

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.871.1 - 9.871.16



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Paper Authors

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Michael Butkus

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

Session 2004-911

Linking Courses and Essential Experiences in an Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Curriculum

Michael A. Butkus*, Marie C. Johnson, and Jason C. Lynch

Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996

* corresponding author, (845) 938 –2820 (p), (845) 938 – 3339 (f),


Many undergraduate engineering curricula develop introductory level knowledge of common engineering processes by using highly constrained problems, which call for a single “right” answer. This teaching approach meets the intent of providing the student with a basic level of understanding in the discipline. Environmental engineers as well as engineers in other disciplines, however, apply their skills in a dynamic environment where single solutions are the exception rather than the rule. A static approach to problem solving cannot fulfill the curriculum goal specified in most ABET accredited programs. Additional “significant experiences” are required to help students develop a holistic appreciation for professional practice issues and to prepare them for the workplace. Such experiences should relate course material to professional practice; be commensurate with a student’s skill level according to their progression through a curriculum; and should be perceived by students as reinforcing rather than redundant. Examples of such experiences include field trips, hands-on laboratory exercises, modeling, technical designs, experimental designs, independent laboratory research projects, and research papers. This paper links the U.S. Military Academy Environmental Engineering curriculum, ABET outcomes a-k, and ABET Environmental Engineering Program Criteria to selected noteworthy experiences. Assessment results are presented, which attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of significant experiences. The drawbacks associated with omission of several desired experiences from the curriculum are also addressed.


Besides providing a discipline-specific undergraduate education, the United States Military Academy’s primary mission is “to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the Nation.” In support of this mission, the overarching goal of the academic program is “to enable its graduates to anticipate and to respond effectively to the Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright  2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Butkus, M. (2004, June), Linking Courses And Essential Experiences In An Undergraduate Environmental Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--14072

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