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Requiring a Course in Infrastructure for All Graduates

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Linking Engineering and Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1122.1 - 25.1122.12



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Paper Authors


J. Ledlie Klosky U.S. Military Academy

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J. Ledlie Klosky, P.E., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at West Point, where he also serves as the Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation and Engineering. Klosky is the 2010 winner of the National Outstanding Teaching Medal from the society, and, in addition to traditional engineering pursuits, he works in communication in education, course design, and the interface between engineering and other disciplines.

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Scott M. Katalenich U.S. Military Academy

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Major Scott Katalenich is an instructor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. He received his B.S. from the U.St. Military Academy, M.Phil. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, and M.S. in civil engineering from Stanford University. His research interests include sustainable design, construction, infrastructure systems, and engineering education.

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Steven D. Hart U.S. Military Academy

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Steve Hart is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with more than 23 years of service in both command and staff positions in Iraq, Kuwait, Panama, Germany, Korea, and the United States. He is currently assigned as the ERDC Engineering Fellow and Director of Infrastructure Studies in the Center for Innovation and Engineering at West Point. He has also served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at West Point, where he taught innovative courses on infrastructure engineering and critical infrastructure protection. He has authored numerous articles and a book chapter on these subjects and has spoken on them extensively. He is the developer and lead proponent of the Critical Infrastructure Symposium, now in its third year, and was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award by the Infrastructure Security Partnership in 2011. His other teaching experience includes Design of Steel Structures, Design of Concrete Structures, Advanced Structural Analysis, Soil Mechanics, and the Civil Engineering capstone course. His active areas of research include infrastructure protection and resiliency and engineering education. He is active in the Infrastructure Security Partnership and the American Society of Civil Engineers, including services on the Committee on Critical Infrastructure, as well as the American Society of Engineering Education. Hart and his wife Christina reside at West Point, have been married for 22 years, and have eight wonderful children.

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Requiring a Course in Infrastructure for All GraduatesThere is something universal about obtaining a degree from an accredited university; it is alicense to call oneself educated. In recognizing this certification of erudition, society setsrelatively simple standards that can be difficult to achieve. The graduate must be able to addressdifficult problems coherently, bringing to bear a mixture of knowledge, empathy, skills andmoral and ethical standards. Within this framework, society allows for specialization. Lawyersare not asked to design airplanes nor doctors to write complex opinions on the meaning of recentacts of congress. There is, however, an underlying expectation of core knowledge which isinescapable. Any college graduate, for example, should be able to read or write a paper on acomplex topic, illustrating or discerning both the obvious and implied elements. To provide theunderpinnings for this task, essentially every university requires a course in English, and usuallymore than one; science and mathematics are likewise added to the core to ensure a universal baseof knowledge among the graduates. All of these core competencies help the graduate tounderstand and explain elements of their everyday life and are broadly considered essential totheir ability to lead society towards a better future, achieving what is often the stated goal of eachuniversity. But flip a switch, turn a valve, flush a toilet or climb aboard and travel – can thetypical college graduate explain the elements of the decision made when that action was taken?Do they know what makes it work and the systems underlying that action? If one can appreciateArt and thus build a deeper understanding of the world, couldn’t Infrastructure Appreciation helpbuild more complete citizens of the world, laying the groundwork for a broader view of thechoices civilizations make?This paper will discuss the need for broadly available, and perhaps required, courses in the areaof infrastructure and will briefly describe one such semi-elective course offered at XXX. Thefocus will on the value of providing all students with an understanding of how the builtenvironment forms an essential part of societies past and present. The ultimate aim is to creategraduates who can participate fully in society’s discussions and decisions related to the creationof a future that we can best imagine collaboratively, including all the disciplines brought togetherby a shared base of knowledge.

Klosky, J. L., & Katalenich, S. M., & Hart, S. D. (2012, June), Requiring a Course in Infrastructure for All Graduates Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21879

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