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The Raise the Bar Effort: Charting the Future by Understanding the Path to the Present - The BOK and Lessons Learned

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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

Reflections on the “Raise the Bar” Initiative (Part II) - Using a Decade of Experience to Chart the Future

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1328.1 - 25.1328.15



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Paper Authors


Stuart G. Walesh P.E. S. G. Walesh Consulting

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Stuart G. Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, D.WRE, and F.NSPE, is an independent consultant providing management, engineering, education/training, and marketing services. Prior to beginning his consultancy, he worked in the public, private, and academic sectors serving as a Project Engineer and Manager, Department Head, Discipline Manager, marketer, legal expert, professor, and Dean of an engineering college. Walesh authored or co-authored six books and many engineering and education publications and presentations. His most recent book is Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, a text and reference book, published by Wiley and ASCE Press. Walesh facilitated and/or made presentations at several hundred workshops, seminars, classes, webinars, and meetings throughout the U.S. and internationally. Over the past decade, Walesh has been active in the effort to reform the education and early experience of engineers.

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference; San Antonio, Texas; June 10-13, 2012 The Raise the Bar” Initiative: Charting the Future by Understanding the Path to the Present – The BOK and Lessons LearnedBeginning in 1995 at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Civil EngineeringEducation Conference (CEEC ’95), key educational and professional leaders of the civilengineering community in the United States have been working to reform civilengineering education. In 1998, the call for action from CEEC ’95 ultimately resulted inthe passage of ASCE Policy Statement 465—Academic Prerequisites for Licensure andProfessional Practice. ASCE Policy 465 states that, in the future, education beyond thebaccalaureate degree will be necessary for entry into the professional practice of civilengineering. In 2002, an ASCE Board-level committee, the Committee on AcademicPrerequisites for Professional Practice (CAP^3), was formed to study and implement theactions that would be necessary to achieve this vision for civil engineering. The last tenyears have produced significant progress in ASCE’S ―Raise the Bar‖ initiative.To maintain the initiative’s momentum, the successful processes of the past and theassociated ―lessons learned‖ must be clearly communicated to future leaders andproponents of the ―Raise the Bar‖ initiative. Much has been learned from theexperiences of the past – and these hard-learned experiences should guide the futuredirection of the initiative. A quotation (from Adlai E. Stevenson) comes to mind: ―We canchart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to thepresent.‖This is one of several scholarly papers that will be written and presented inrecognition of the tenth anniversary of establishing CAP^3. The collective paperswill provide engineering educators and practitioners with a description of thehistory, lessons learned, and next steps related to the “raise the bar" initiative.These papers will be written from six different, yet related, perspectives including the(1) overall initiative, (2) civil engineering bodies of knowledge, (3) changed universitycurricula, (4) draft experiential guidelines, (5) revised accreditation criteria, and (6)modified licensure laws and rules.This paper, the second in the collection, will provide a summary of lessons learned fromthe BOK element of the CAP^3 effort. The BOK concept first appeared in 2003 with thecreation of a BOK white paper. This led to defining the civil engineering BOK as thenecessary depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of an individualto enter the practice of civil engineering at the professional level in the 21st century. TheBOK gradually became synonymous with the need to expand the basic education of civilengineers to include a master’s degree or equivalent and to intensify the pre-licensureexperience. Examples of BOK-related lessons learned described in this paper are ―testdriving‖ terminology, embracing a change model, being flexible on tactics whilemaintaining the vision, conducting scholarly work, and practicing transparency andinclusiveness.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 in2012. It should be considered for inclusion in the session that Tom Lenox is organizingand moderating.

Walesh, S. G. (2012, June), The Raise the Bar Effort: Charting the Future by Understanding the Path to the Present - The BOK and Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22085

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