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Suggested Topics For A Curriculum In Civil Engineering

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.913.1 - 6.913.10

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Jose Roesset

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James Yao

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

Session 2315

Suggested Topics for a Civil Engineering Curriculum Jose M. Roësset, James T. P. Yao Texas A&M University at College Station

Abstract As continued developments in computer hardware and software provide us with more efficient means to carry out cumbersome computations and with enhanced means of communication and information transfer, the role of civil engineers must change. The current civil engineering curricula at most universities are no longer appropriate to produce leaders of our society in the 21st century. If engineers want to maintain a prominent position in society a new curriculum that properly balances mathematics, natural sciences and engineering with humanities and social and political sciences must be developed and implemented. This new undergraduate curriculum should provide students with a basic knowledge of the following topics: (1) Mathematics, basic and engineering sciences; (2) Broad-based technical aspects of civil engineering; (3) Principles of uncertainty and risk analysis; (4) Decision analysis and business principles; (4) Management principles; (5) Societal needs, ethics, public policy, and political science; and (6) Communication and leadership skills. These topics should be taught in an integrated manner, and reinforced throughout the curriculum repeating their applications in various classes. In addition, the students should be exposed to (1) engineering practice through a variety of means including summer internships, cooperative programs, and interactions with practicing professional engineers; and (2) different cultures and international projects. Faculty members need also to be continuously exposed to practical problems in order to bring back that experience into the classroom. New faculty members should have practical experience or be provided with means to acquire it. To do so, it is necessary to change the faculty reward system by emphasizing the quality instead of the quantity of faculty work. In this paper, we discuss these various aspects in some detail.

I. Introduction

Since the fifties the emphasis in engineering education has been on mathematics, basic science and theoretical engineering courses at the expense of more practical engineering offerings and liberal arts. Engineering students and faculty have often treated humanities and social science courses as necessary evils when in fact these courses were designed and intended to: (1) broaden the engineers’ understanding of the societal needs and relationships, and (2) provide a balanced education rather than simple training.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Roesset, J., & Yao, J. (2001, June), Suggested Topics For A Curriculum In Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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