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New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: How the Sausage is Being Made

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

BOK2 - Influencing Changes to the ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria and Civil Engineering Curricula

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.931.1 - 24.931.21



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Paper Authors


Allen C. Estes California Polytechnic State University

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Allen C. Estes is a Professor and Head for the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Until January 2007, Dr. Estes was the Director of the Civil Engineering Program at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. Al Estes received a B.S. degree from USMA in1978, M.S. degrees in Structural Engineering and in Construction Management from Stanford University in 1987 and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1997.

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Thomas A. Lenox , Dist.M.ASCE, F.ASEE American Society of Civil Engineers

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Thomas A. Lenox, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE is Executive Vice President (Emeritus) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy (USMA), Master of Science degree in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics from Cornell University, Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Long Island University, and a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. Dr. Lenox served for over 28 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S Army Field Artillery in a variety of leadership positions in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia. He retired at the rank of Colonel. During his military career, Dr. Lenox also spent 15 years on the engineering faculty of USMA – including five years as the Director of the Civil Engineering Division. Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1998, he joined the staff of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). In his position as educational staff leader of ASCE, he managed several new educational initiatives – collectively labeled as Project ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education). As ASCE’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Lenox led several educational and professional career-development projects for the civil engineering profession – with the overall objective of properly preparing individuals for their futures as civil engineers. An example is his staff leadership of ASCE’s initiative to “Raise the Bar” for entry into professional engineering practice. Dr. Lenox’s recent awards include ASCE’s ExCEEd Leadership Award, ASEE’s George K. Wadlin Award, ASCE’s William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award, and the CE News’ “2010 Power List – 15 People Advancing the Civil Engineering Profession.” In 2013, he was selected as a Distinguished Member of ASCE. In January 2014, Dr. Lenox retired from his staff position with ASCE after over 15 years of service. He will continue to serve the engineering profession as an active member of several ASCE national education/accreditation committees and ASEE’s Civil Engineering Division.

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New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: How the Sausage is Being MadeThe American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) developed the first edition of the CivilEngineering Body of Knowledge (BOK1) in 2004 defining the knowledge, skills and attitudesrequired of future civil engineers. Several of the outcomes of BOK1 were incorporated into theABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria (CEPC) effective with the 2008-2009 accreditationcycle. The CEPC was supplemented with an associated commentary. The Body of Knowledgeis a living document that will continue to be updated and revised. The second edition of the CivilEngineering Body of Knowledge (BOK2) was published in 2008 and increased the number ofexpected outcomes from 15 to 24.ASCE recently created the Civil Engineering Program Criteria Task Committee whose charge isto determine if the current CEPC should be changed to reflect an additional one or more of the24 outcomes of BOK2. The new task committee could recommend no changes, some changes,or extensive changes to the CEPC. The committee consists of academic faculty and industrypractitioners who have been active in both ABET evaluation and ASCE educational activities.This paper reports the interim results of the committee’s work.The paper will share:A review of the literature. Rather than starting from scratch, the committee built on a volume ofwork that had already been completed by others. That work will be summarized and referenced.The committee’s methodology. The BOK2 is expressed in terms of outcomes and uses Bloom’sTaxonomy to define the desired level of attainment. The committee adopted an outcome-by-outcome strategy to examine how well the current ABET criteria addresses the requirements ofBOK2, what a fully BOK2 compliant CE program criteria would look like, and whether suchcompliance is reasonable and attainable given the real world constraints faced by civilengineering programs.The key issues that emerged through the conference calls and face-to-face meetings of thecommittee. The paper will define the most relevant and contentious issues, share the discussion,and provide the rationale for the ultimate recommendations of the committee.Future work of the committee. The committee’s work will probably result in a change in the CEprogram criteria. Such work will not be complete by the submission date of this paper, so theremaining tasks will be described. The committee’s work is part of a longer range plan tocontinuously update both the BOK and CEPC in a systematic manner.COORDINATING NOTE:This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator ofthe ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in 2014. It should beconsidered for inclusion in the session that Tom Lenox is organizing and moderating.

Estes, A. C., & Lenox, T. A. (2014, June), New Civil Engineering Program Criteria: How the Sausage is Being Made Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22864

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