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Progress On Raising The Bar — New Ce Accreditation Criteria

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Progress on Raising the Bar

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1038.1 - 11.1038.17



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Paper Authors


Stephen Ressler U.S. Military Academy

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Colonel Stephen J. Ressler is Professor and Vice Dean for Education at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. He earned a B.S. degree from USMA in 1979 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in 1989 and 1991. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia. He serves as a member of the ASCE Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP^3) and as Vice Chairman of the CAP^3 Accreditation Committee. He is a former Chairman of the ASEE CE Division.

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

Progress on Raising the Bar— New Civil Engineering Accreditation Criteria


This paper describes new civil engineering accreditation criteria that have been developed in conjunction with implementation of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Policy Statement 465. The new criteria include Basic-Level Civil Engineering Program Criteria and Advanced-Level General Criteria, accompanied by a comprehensive draft ASCE Commentary, entitled “Interpretation of the ABET Engineering Criteria for Civil and Similarly Named Programs.” All three documents derive directly from ASCE’s Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century, which articulates the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for entry into the civil engineering profession.1

These new criteria were drafted in the spring of 2004; however, they have been modified and updated almost continuously since then, as a result of input from across the civil engineering profession. The criteria are best understood in the context of the process by which they were developed and refined. Thus this paper begins with a summary of ASCE Policy Statement 465 and the associated Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK); it discusses the advantages and limitations inherent in using accreditation criteria as an instrument for fostering implementation of the BOK; it summarizes the development process leading to new draft BOK-compliant accreditation criteria, with emphasis on changes implemented within the past year; and, finally, it provides a description and analysis of the current draft criteria. These criteria are expected to be submitted to ABET in the spring of 2006, published for public review during the subsequent year, and implemented for accreditation visits starting in fall of 2008.

With the forthcoming ABET public review in mind, the ultimate purpose of this paper is to share the new draft criteria with a broader audience and to solicit feedback that will further improve the quality, relevance, and effectiveness of these products.

Background: Policy Statement 465 and the Body of Knowledge

Rapid technological advancement, globalization, and ever-increasing political, social, environmental, and economic constraints are fundamentally changing the practice of civil engineering today. Yet many academic institutions are ill-equipped to respond to these challenges, because of severe credit hour limitations that have been imposed on the four-year bachelor’s degree in recent years. Consequently, the bachelor’s degree is becoming increasingly inadequate as formal academic preparation for the professional practice of civil engineering.

In response to this situation, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Board of Direction adopted Policy Statement 465 in October 1998. This initial version of the policy stated that the Society “supports the concept of the master’s degree as the First Professional Degree for the practice of civil engineering at the professional level.” As the strategy for achieving this vision developed, it became apparent that the policy should more broadly address the academic

Ressler, S. (2006, June), Progress On Raising The Bar — New Ce Accreditation Criteria Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--699

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