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Possible Influences of the NSPE EBOK and the AAES/DOL Engineering Competency Model (ECM) on the CEBOK3

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Influencing the Next (Third!) Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Stuart G. Walesh P.E. S. G. Walesh Consulting

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Stuart G. Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, and F.NSPE (, is an author; teacher; and an independent consultant providing leadership-management, engineering, and education-training services. Prior to beginning his consultancy, he worked in the public, private, and academic sectors serving as a project engineer and manager, department head, discipline manager, marketer, legal expert, professor, and engineering dean. Walesh’s technical specialty is water resources engineering. His current principal research interest is using brain basics to help engineers, beginning as students, to work smarter, that is, be more effective-efficient and more creative-innovative.

He authored or co-authored six books and many engineering and education publications and presentations. His textbook Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering was published in 2012 and his textbook Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers was published by Pearson Education in 2016.

Walesh facilitated and/or made presentations at several hundred workshops, seminars, classes, webinars, and meetings throughout the U.S. and internationally. For the past 15 years he has been active in the effort to reform the education and early experience of engineers.

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference; New Orleans, Louisiana, June 26-29, 2016

Possible Influences of the NSPE EBOK and the AAES/DOL Engineering Competency Model (ECM) on the CEBOK3

In 2013, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) completed development of the first-ever Engineering Body of Knowledge (EBOK) and in 2015 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finished, with major inputs from the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES), the Engineering Competency Model (ECM). The EBOK and the ECM appeared many years after the 2008 release of the current Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge – Second Edition (CEBOK2) and essentially just before starting the process that could lead to a CEBOK3. This paper’s purpose is to suggest that the EBOK and ECM warrant attention because their intents and contents overlap with the CEBOK2. Full disclosure, because of the noted participation of the AAES in development of the ECM, its content was influenced in part by the EBOK.

Consistent with the paper’s purpose, the intent and essentials of the EBOK and ECM are described. More specifically, the EBOK is defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) required of an individual to enter practice as a professional engineer (licensed) in responsible charge of engineering activities that potentially impact public health, safety, and welfare. KSAs are described in terms of capabilities to be attained by the time of entry into professional practice. A given capability typically consists of many diverse and specific abilities. The overriding intent of the EBOK is to encourage ten identified engineering profession stakeholders to use the EBOK to think about where they are and where they may want to go.

The ECM describes, using a tiered structure, engineering knowledge, skills, and abilities (not attitudes) collectively referred to as competencies. Unlike the EBOK, the ECM competencies are not connected to a particular milestone in an engineer’s career and, even more specifically, are not linked to licensure. The ECM is designed to serve as a resource for practitioners and academics across all engineering disciplines.

The paper then suggests aspects of both the EBOK and the ECM that are not explicit in the CEBOK2 outcomes and ought to be at least considered during the CEBOK3 discussions. As explained in the paper, both the EBOK and the ECM include the following capabilities or competencies not in the CEBOK2: manufacturing and construction, safety, engineering economics, operation and maintenance, and quality control - quality assurance.

Furthermore, the EBOK offers systems engineering capability which is not part of either the ECM or the CEBOK2. And the ECM includes a creative thinking competency also not a focus of the EBOK or the CEBOK2. The ECM does this by supporting the continuing the role of the engineer as an effective problem solver while also portraying the engineer as one who seeks and develops opportunities.

In summary, this paper explores use of parts of the EBOK and the ECM to strengthen the next version of the CEBOK.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the CE Division of ASEE in 2016. It should be considered for inclusion in the session “Influencing the Next (Third!) Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century” that Tom Lenox is organizing and moderating.

Walesh, S. G. (2016, June), Possible Influences of the NSPE EBOK and the AAES/DOL Engineering Competency Model (ECM) on the CEBOK3 Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25917

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