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Teaching and Assessing Professional Skills in an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Curriculum

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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

Assessment of Engineering Leadership Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1465.1 - 26.1465.16



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Paper Authors


William J. Davis P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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William J. Davis is a professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and is a registered professional engineer. His research interests focus on transportation infrastructure planning and design, highway safety, and active living by design. He teaches courses in engineering management, transportation engineering, geographic information systems, and land surveying.

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Dimitra Michalaka P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Dimitra Michalaka is an Assistant Professor at the department of civil and environmental engineering at The Citadel. Dr. Michalaka received her undergraduate diploma in civil engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), after which she entered into the transportation engineering graduate program at UF. She graduated with a Master’s of Science in May 2009 and with a Ph.D. in August 2012. Her research is primarily focused on traffic operations, congestion pricing, traffic simulation, and engineering education.

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Teaching and Assessing Professional Skills in an Undergraduate Civil EngineeringCurriculum“A Vision for Civil Engineers in 2025” was adopted by American Society of CivilEngineers (ASCE) that broadens the scope of student outcomes to better preparegraduates to lead society in establishing a sustainable world and improving the globalquality of life. Future practicing civil engineers are envisioned to be master builders,stewards of the environment, innovators, managers of risk, and leaders of public policy.The ASCE Body of Knowledge (BOK) 2 provides a significant foundation for howengineering programs should prepare civil engineering students to meet ever increasingsocietal demands. Nine of the 24 adopted outcomes are focused on professionaloutcomes, describe student skills needed to meet career challenges, and include suggestedtarget levels of cognitive development to adequately prepare undergraduate students forprofessional practice. Preparing students to rise to the call of Vision 2025 requiressynthesizing professional skills across overarching concepts, such as principledleadership, so civil engineering graduates are equipped to pursue their careers as stewardsof the natural environment, designers of the built environment, and leaders of publicpolicy.Based on this vision for future engineers set forth in ASCE BOK 2, The Citadel adopted22 student outcomes, eight of which are directly focused on developing studentprofessional skills and competencies. These outcomes are mapped across a subset of the32 courses offered in the civil engineering curriculum. Embedded indicators are used tomeasure student attainment of the material and compared against established departmentstandards. Multiple direct and indirect measures are used to assess each of the studentoutcomes. Direct measures include test questions, projects, reports, and Fundamental ofEngineering Exam results, averaged by sub-category. Year-to-year results are trackedand incorporated into the Department’s Assessment Process. Improvements aresystematically implemented as course improvements and enhanced student developmentactivities.This paper will describe methods and techniques used to develop, teach, track, integrate,and assess student professional skills and competencies. Mapping of course goals acrossthe undergraduate curriculum that include professional skills will be presented andsummarized. Results from this process are being used to create an evidence-based meansto raise student cognitive performance levels aligned with principled leadership and otherrelated professional development outcomes. Additionally, a detailed review of coursegoals, teaching methods, and assessment will be provided for two courses, EngineeringManagement (CIVL411) and Professional Sustainability (CIVL317), that were primarilystructured to address the development of student professional skills needed for graduatesto successfully enter the engineering profession.

Davis, W. J., & Michalaka, D. (2015, June), Teaching and Assessing Professional Skills in an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24802

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