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The Value Of Student Chapters: A Difference In Perspective

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Chapters - Formulas for Success

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1186.1 - 8.1186.10



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Quimby

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

Session 3215

The Value of Student Chapters: A Difference in Perspective

By T. Bartlett Quimby, P.E., Ph.D. Professor and Chair, University of Alaska Anchorage Civil Engineering


Student chapters of professional organizations offer a variety of opportunities for students and the programs that support them. The level of activity of these organizations varies drastically from campus to campus. It is felt that the level of activity is directly related to the perceived value of the organizations. In an effort to determine the perceptions concerning the value of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapters a series of three informal surveys were conducted. An email survey intended to obtain perceptions of ASCE faculty advisors was made of participants in the inaugural ASCE Faculty Advisor Training Workshop in September 2000. About the same time, the chairs of civil engineering programs around the country were also polled by email. In addition, a panel discussion and open discussion session was held with ASCE students at the ASCE National Conference in the fall of 2000. This paper presents the various perceptions and comments on the differences. The comparisons help to understand some of the challenges faced by student chapters. This knowledge is used to develop strategies for strengthening the student experience through student chapter activities and services.


There are over 250 student chapters and clubs of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in the United States. These student chapters are supported by the civil engineering programs at the colleges and universities that they are associated with for a wide variety of reasons. It has been observed by the members of the ASCE Committee on Student Activities (CSA) that the activity of these student organizations varies considerably from program to program. Discussions among the members of the ASCE CSA and with faculty advisors have indicated that a major reason for this variance in activity levels is, in part, the result of a difference in value placed on the student chapters and clubs by the various groups that have a stake in their success. Indeed, the most highly rated student chapters/clubs (based on ASCE CSA assessment of annual reports) all appear to have a department head, faculty advisor, and/or student officers who see enough value in the system to drive their chapter/club to success. To determine the value placed on the student chapter/club experience, polls of faculty advisors, department chairs, and students (three major parties associated with the success of student chapters/clubs) were conducted in 2000 to determine what the difference in value perception was among the groups. It is felt that knowing the differences in perspective will help the ASCE CSA and the local chapters/clubs in developing a more effective student program.

The investigation described herein was not originally intended to be a thorough or a scientifically Proceedings of the 2003 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Quimby, T. (2003, June), The Value Of Student Chapters: A Difference In Perspective Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12646

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