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The Role of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge in ASCE's Raise the Bar Effort

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Key Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession - and ASCE

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Horst Brandes University of Hawaii

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Horst Brandes is Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Hawaii (UH), where he has been a faculty member for the past 23 years. As a researcher, he has published nearly 100 scientific papers and conducted numerous research projects with funding in the millions of Dollars. He is the senior geotechnical engineering faculty member at UH.

In addition to being a faculty member, he has been engaged in engineering practice for the past 25 years. In 2004, he founded Applied Geosciences, LLC, a geotechnical engineering consulting firm based in Honolulu. Clients include private individuals and entities, legal professionals, and government agencies in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Horst Brandes has been involved with ASCE for many years. He has served as President of the Hawaii Section and as a Region 8 Governor. In addition, he has been a member of the Committee on Accreditation, the Committee on the Civil Engineering Technologist Body of Knowledge, the Committee on the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 3, and the Raise the Bar Committee. He is also a corresponding member of the Committee on the Civil Engineering Technologist. His interests in serving ASCE and the civil engineering profession include the academic and professional preparation of civil engineers, education, licensure, credentialing and advancing the profession.

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Eric L. Flicker Pennoni Associates Inc.

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Eric L. Flicker, P.E.

Mr. Flicker currently serves as an independent Senior Consultant with Pennoni Associates Inc. For 10 years prior, he was the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, responsible for Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology and Facilities.

He is a registered professional civil engineer with extensive background in developing municipal infrastructure projects, and has strong experience in project management and technical staff management for multi-disciplined projects.

His BS in Civil Engineering and MBA were both conferred by Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA.

He has been a loyal supporter and leader in the engineering community. In addition to his extensive service to the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) family, as past national Chairman, and in Pennsylvania, he has been President of the Hazardous Waste Action Coalition (of ACEC); a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) , where he now serves as Chair of the Raise the Bar Committee; President of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers; Founding Chairman of the Pennsylvania Design Association Center; Past President of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia; and Past President of the Philadelphia Engineering Foundation.

He currently serves of the Board of Directors of two prominent consulting engineering firms- a 900-person firm headquartered in Minneapolis and a 550-person firm headquartered in Florida and a $25MIllion electronics distributor- headquartered in Pennsylvania.

In 2006, Mr. Flicker was named the Delaware Valley Engineer of the Year, as well as Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers- Philadelphia Section.

He has also been active in the community. He is a Past President of the Board of Habitat for Humanity- the Affiliates in the Delaware Valley and served on the Board of the Chester County affiliate. He is also a past Board Member of both the Philadelphia Education Fund/ Philadelphia Scholars and the Public Citizens for Children and Youth (of southeastern Pennsylvania).

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Kelly Dooley P.E. American Society of Civil Engineers

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Kelly Dooley, P.E., M.ASCE is the American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) Director of Raise the Bar, part of ASCE’s Leader Development Division. Raise the Bar is one of ASCE’s key initiatives, aimed at advancing the civil engineering profession and protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare by ensuring all civil engineers attain the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes required for professional practice as a civil engineer. Kelly staffs the Raise the Bar Committee and provides support for all activities related to the Raise the Bar initiative. Kelly previously worked in ASCE’s Professional Activities Department on programs concerned with the professional aspects of civil engineering including licensure, mentoring, leadership and management, and more.

Prior to joining ASCE, Kelly was a design engineer at Rathgeber/Goss Associates, a structural consulting firm in Rockville, MD, for nearly five years. As a structural engineer, she designed steel, masonry, concrete, and timber structures, analyzed existing buildings, and provided construction administration services.

Kelly holds a five-year Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree from The Pennsylvania State University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Maryland. Kelly is also currently pursuing a Master of Science in Management with a specialization in Nonprofit and Association Management part-time.

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The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CE-BOK) prescribes the necessary depth and breath of knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of any and all civil engineers entering the practice of civil engineering at the professional level. As Abbott (1988) and others have indicated, the importance of the CE-BOK goes even further by laying a claim on the jurisdiction of civil engineering as a profession. Successful advocacy and defense of such jurisdiction carries with it the right to perform certain exclusive work on behalf of society. ASCE, as the lead civil engineering society, has taken great efforts to publish and continuously update the CE-BOK precisely for these reasons. The third and most recent version of this body (CE-BOK3) has been drafted and it will be published shortly.

What this and previous versions of the CE-BOK make clear is that a standard ABET-accredited civil engineering baccalaureate degree provides insufficient academic preparation to enter the civil engineering practice at the professional level. This implies the need for further post-graduate education, along with mentorship experience in a professional setting and self-development. In many respects, the newest version of the CE-BOK places even higher expectations on civil engineers than earlier versions did. It is also clear that licensure, as it exists in all jurisdictions, represents a bar that is significantly lower than the CE-BOK. The gap that remains between the expectations of the civil engineering profession and the reality imposed by largely intransient licensing boards is the driving focus of ASCE’s Raise the Bar (RTB) effort. The Raise the Bar Committee within ASCE is tasked with closing this gap through education, communication and advocacy of the CE-BOK on all possible fronts. In response to the newest body of knowledge, the RTB Committee is preparing an action plan to do just that.

This paper summarizes the changes made to the CE-BOK between the 2nd and 3rd editions and explains how the CE-BOK is and always has been the foundation of ASCE’s RTB effort. It will explore how ASCE has historically used the CE-BOK as a catalyst to influence change in the professional preparation of civil engineers, and how it may be used in the future. Potential hurdles to implementation will be shared, particularly considering significant changes that have been made. For example, CE-BOK3 has added an affective domain to its traditional cognitive outcomes, which no doubt will present a challenge for implementation. Other efforts underway include consideration of a credentialing system and other measures to document achievement of the CE-BOK. The three authors have been involved with RTB and CE-BOK activities within ASCE for many years and therefore this paper also provides a historical perspective and personal insight into current efforts to defend and advance the civil engineering profession.

COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the CE Division of ASEE in 2019. It should be considered for inclusion in the sessions on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that the ASCE Liaison Committee is organizing.

Brandes, H., & Flicker, E. L., & Dooley, K. (2019, June), The Role of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge in ASCE's Raise the Bar Effort Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33421

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