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Structural Engineering for Architecture and Construction Management Students: Teaching Methods and Changing Needs

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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

Collaborative Projects in Architectural Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1181.1 - 25.1181.13



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Paper Authors


James B Guthrie P.E. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jim Guthrie is an Assistant Professor for the Architectural Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Guthrie came to Cal Poly with more than 30 years of structural engineering experience and is a registered Professional and Structural Engineer in the state of California. Guthrie received a B.S. degree in structural engineering from the University of California, Davis, in 1972 and an M.S. degree in structural engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973.

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Structural Engineering for Architecture and Construction Management Students – Teaching Methods & Changing NeedsArchitecture and construction management students can often graduate with a weak foundation instructural engineering. The XX University is well positioned to address this gap. The ArchitecturalEngineering (ARCE) Department is fortunate to be one of five departments located within the College ofArchitecture and Environmental Design. A great benefit of this arrangement is that considerableinteraction takes place amongst the departments mirroring the interaction and collaboration that occursin industry. One of the more successful interdepartmental collaborations has been amongst thearchitectural, construction management and architectural engineering departments. This exchange ofinformation and students encourages greater knowledge and understanding of each other’s disciplinesand prepares students for a practice that increasingly values such interdisciplinary collaboration.The ARCE department offers a total of five courses that are taken by architecture and constructionmanagement students giving them a solid grounding in statics, properties of materials and structuralsystems. The final two courses in this sequence are titled Small Scale Structures and Large ScaleStructures. These two courses are unusual in that they are designed for both architecture andconstruction management but not ARCE students. They cover timber, structural steel and reinforcedconcrete structural systems.The overall goal of these two courses is to give the architecture and construction management studentsstructural engineering skills so that in their careers as project leaders they will better understandstructural engineering systems and principles. With this ability they can better produce efficientintegrated designs, collaborate effectively with their structural engineering consultants and lead moresuccessful projects. The process of implementing these goals, has required care in the areas of contentand classroom approach. Learning outcomes have been well defined to accommodate the otherdisciplines and these courses were designed by ARCE faculty to include content with an appropriatelevel of structural engineering rigor and a balance of architectural design and construction issues.Classroom approaches to this balanced content have included physical model building, computermodeling, manual calculations, graphic analysis and individual and team projects. Assessment of thecontent and approach by students and an interdepartmental faculty committee is ongoing.This paper will address the background of these two courses, the role these courses play in the fivecourse sequence, the goals, learning outcomes and outlines for each course, the content, approachesand class materials. It will describe how these two unusual courses show successful strategies forproviding cross-discipline education. This paper will also describe the interdepartmental and industryadvisory council assessments and the changes these assessments have brought to the courses so theybetter meet the needs of the architecture and construction management students.

Guthrie, J. B. (2012, June), Structural Engineering for Architecture and Construction Management Students: Teaching Methods and Changing Needs Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21938

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