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Solving the Impasse Among the Engineering Disciplines: Finding Common Ground for the Educational Requirements for Tomorrow’s Professional Engineers

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.3.1 - 26.3.12



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Paper Authors


Michael J. Conzett NCEES

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Michael Conzett, PE, BCEE, M.ASCE

Mike Conzett, an Iowa State University civil engineering alumnus, has been a licensed professional engineer since 1982. He is a retired vice president of HDR Engineering.

In August 2014, Mike was elected President-elect of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) after having previously served as Central Zone Vice President. He serves on the NCEES board of directors.
Additionally, he is in his twelfth year serving on the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects and has served as a former board chair. He has also served on a number of NCEES committees, including chairing the Engineering Education Task Force and board liaison to the NCEES Education Committee.

He currently serves on the ASCE Committee on Licensure and recently completed a term on the ASCE Equivalent 30 Credits Task Committee of the Raise the Bar Committee.

He has been a Board Certified Environmental Engineer in Hazardous Waste Management since 1993.

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Mark William Killgore D.WRE P.E. American Society of Civil Engineers Orcid 16x16

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Mark Killgore has worked as Director, Raise the Bar for the American Society of Civil Engineers since 2011 focusing on the future educational prerequisites for professional licensure.

He spent over 30 years as a consulting engineer and project owner in the hydro and water resources sector. He also served as adjunct faculty at Seattle University where he taught water resources engineering and fluid mechanics. He is a published author and has written numerous papers on water resources and professional topics.

Mark completed his Masters of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington. He holds a specialty certification from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers and is a licensed Professional Engineer (civil) in the State of Washington.

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Solving the Impasse Among the Engineering Disciplines: Finding Common Ground for the Educational Requirements for Tomorrow’s Professional EngineersDuring the past several years, there has been a great deal of discussion around the ideathat a baccalaureate degree is not sufficient to produce the engineer with the required skillset to practice as a professional engineer in the 21st century. Over ten years ago theNational Academy of Engineering concluded “It is evident that the exploding body ofscience and engineering knowledge cannot be accommodated within the context of thetraditional four-year baccalaureate degree.”Initially it was considered that a master’s degree in engineering could compensate for theshortfall of technical depth needed for effective practice. Upon further study it wasdetermined that the master’s degree was not necessarily the most effective path for allengineering disciplines and all engineers. Some disciplines have a very effectiveprogram for on-the-job learning in the early stages of a professional career. Otherssought to enhance business acumen and education through a combination approach withboth business and engineering coursework, beyond a bachelor’s degree – perhaps anMBA. This lead to the development of a concept of equivalent credits to a master’sdegree.Recently the American Society of Civil Engineers organized a task committee to studythe “equivalent 30” concept. Meanwhile the Education Committee of the NationalCouncil of Examiners for Engineering Examiners and Surveying was charged withdeveloping “required standards for assessing non-university coursework, payingparticular attention to the rigor required for equivalency” and to “Use input from entitiesthat currently provide meaningful, non-university courses.”The Education Committee also came to a key conclusion in 2014. Based on theEducation Committee’s collaborations and interactions with several key professionalsocieties, the committee has made a substantive determination: That is, the search for“equivalency” is not appropriate. Any education initiative using practice-orientededucation is clearly different than university coursework and thus cannot be judged asbeing equivalent. It is likely that in the near future, the development of new practice-oriented pathway will become a top priority for the Committee,This scholarly paper will delve into a series of questions about the future of engineeringeducation outside of the traditional master’s degree in engineering pathway including:  What constitutes a practice oriented pathway?  How is the practice oriented pathway distinct from the academic pathway?  How might the various engineering societies collaborate to offer a practice oriented pathway?  What might be the role of the employer in facilitating a practice oriented pathway?COORDINATING NOTE:This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, thecoordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s program for the CE Division of ASEE in2015. It should be considered for inclusion in the one of the two sessions Tom Lenox isorganizing and moderating.

Conzett, M. J., & Killgore, M. W. (2015, June), Solving the Impasse Among the Engineering Disciplines: Finding Common Ground for the Educational Requirements for Tomorrow’s Professional Engineers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23336

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