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Preparing the Future Civil Engineer: Review and Update of the ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Educational and Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession and ASCE

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Stephen J. Ressler P.E. United States Military Academy

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Stephen Ressler, P.E. Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, F.ASEE is Professor Emeritus from the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. He earned a B.S. degree from USMA in 1979, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 1989, and a Ph.D. from Lehigh in 1991. As an active duty Army officer, he served for 34 years in a variety of military engineering assignments around the world. He served as a member of the USMA faculty for 21 years, including six years as Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He retired as a Brigadier General in 2013. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, a Distinguished Member of ASCE, and a Fellow of ASEE.

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Leslie Nolen CAE 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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Wayne R. Bergstrom Bechtel Infrastructure

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Dr. Bergstrom is a Principal Engineer and Fellow at Bechtel Infrastructure and Power Corporation.

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The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) employs a methodical approach to aligning the needs of the civil engineering profession with its standards for education and practice. The primary tools involved in this approach are the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK) and the program criteria for Civil Engineering programs within the ABET accreditation process. Following the publication of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, 2nd Edition (CEBOK2), in 2004, an eight-year cycle of review of both the CEBOK and the program criteria for Civil Engineering programs within ABET was developed. In accordance with that eight-year cycle, ASCE convened a Civil Engineering Program Criteria Task Committee (CEPCTC) in January 2020 to: 1. Determine if there is a need to recommend changes to the ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria based upon (1) the publication of the CEBOK3 in May 2019, (2) the major revision to the EAC/ABET General Criteria effective for reviews during the 2019-2020 accreditation cycle, and (3) compliance w/guidance from EAC/ABET on curricular topics and faculty qualifications. 2. Develop any needed changes to the Program Criteria. 3. Develop and implement a plan (with ASCE staff assistance as needed) for stakeholder communication, receipt, and processing of stakeholder feedback. 4. Develop modifications to the guidance documents, including initial drafts of commentary and training materials, to reflect any changes that we may recommend. 5. Assist in the implementation of the recommended changes through the ASCE and ABET committee structures. 6. Analyze and, if necessary, change the applicability clause of the Civil Engineering Program Criteria (“These program criteria apply to engineering programs that include ‘civil’ or similar modifiers in their titles”) to ensure that these criteria are applicable to the full breadth of the civil engineering discipline. Ensure that any changes are coordinated with the construction engineering and architectural engineering communities. 7. Provide any relevant recommendations for future CEBOK committee to consider. This paper will be the first in a series of papers to document the process employed by ASCE in forming the CEPCTC, and the Task Committee’s activities towards accomplishing its charge over the course of its planned two-year lifespan. This paper will focus on the call for members, selection of members, and work in 2020 related to item #1 above.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of the co-chairs of the ASCE Liaison Committee of the Civil Engineering Division of ASEE. It should be considered for inclusion in the session on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that Leslie Nolen and Tom Lenox are organizing for the 2021 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (June 27-30, 2021; Long Beach, California).

Ressler, S. J., & Nolen, L., & Bergstrom, W. R. (2021, July), Preparing the Future Civil Engineer: Review and Update of the ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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