June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1260.1 - 11.1260.12
The Civil Engineering Faculty of the Future
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has published the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) for the 21st Century that attempts to define the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of a civil engineer. A section of that document addresses who should teach this body of knowledge. It concludes that civil engineering faculty must be scholars, effective teachers, practitioners, and role models. While true, there are a number of complex issues that arise such as whether it is possible for one person to possess all of these attributes, whether such a model best serves the projected trends in civil engineering education, and whether these needs are applicable to and can be enforced for non-traditional, non-university civil engineering programs. As a new committee (BOK-2) has formed to write the second edition of this document, the ASCE Committee on Faculty Development is revising the “who should teach” chapter for this effort. This paper discusses some key issues that are relevant to the civil engineering faculty of the future.
Through the formal development of Policy 465, the American Society of Civil Engineers has defined the Body of Knowledge (BOK) that describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to become a licensed professional engineer1,2. The BOK is presented in the form of 15 outcomes that prescribe the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge required for a practicing civil engineer. The levels of competence for these outcomes were initially defined as recognition, understanding, and ability, but have recently been revised to be defined using the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy3. The attainment of the BOK is expected to occur through a broad undergraduate education, specialized education at the masters level, and practical experience during the pre-licensure and post-licensure periods.
One of the next crucial issues associated with this initiative to raise the bar in civil engineering education is, “Who should teach the BOK?” Currently, the model is that all tenured faculty must have a Ph.D. and if they are teaching a design course, they need a professional license or equivalent education and experience. It is extremely difficult to find a faculty member who is an outstanding researcher, has extensive academic credentials, and possesses experience in professional practice. What is the ideal combination? Must the person teaching design have more than just the minimum number of years of practical experience necessary to sit for the PE? Or should these faculty have additional years of design experience and continue to work as consultants in their chosen sub-disciplines so they can bring those day to day experiences into the classroom? Some schools have moved to this model, but will only provide lecturer or Adjunct status to these faculty. What message is being sent, especially if tenure is only offered to those with a Ph.D.? Which faculty are more valuable -- those that can teach the required design in each program and can bring in dollars through consulting or those bringing in research dollars? Tenure is already under attack at many schools and more schools are bringing in Adjunct faculty to provide the necessary skills they currently lack in their faculty. As industry asks for engineers who can communicate, should there be a technical writer as a member of the
Estes, A., & Welch, R. (2006, June), The Civil Engineering Faculty Of The Future Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/645
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