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Using Failure Case Studies To Address Civil Engineering Program And Bok Criteria

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Civil Engineering Teaching Part Three

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1338.1 - 13.1338.10



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Paper Authors

author page

Norb Delatte Cleveland State University Orcid 16x16

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

Using Failure Case Studies to Address Civil Engineering Program and BOK Criteria Abstract

This paper suggests ways that failure case studies may be used to address Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Engineering Accreditation Commission (ABET EAC) general and civil engineering program specific criteria, as well as Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) criteria. The study of engineering failures can offer students valuable insights into associated technical, ethical, and professional issues. Lessons learned from failures have substantially affected civil engineering practice. The history of development of practice in many engineering disciplines is, in large part, the story of failures and of the changes to standards and procedures made as the result of forensic analyses. In addition to technical issues, concepts such as professional and ethical responsibility are highlighted by the cases. Some specific examples are presented.


The requirements that civil engineering programs have to meet now, and will have to meet in the future, are contained in a number of documents. These include the general and program specific Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Engineering Accreditation Commission (ABET EAC) criteria1 and the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK)2. ASCE also publishes a commentary on the ABET EAC criteria3.

The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK) has been developed by ASCE over several years, and is expected to affect ABET EAC accreditation criteria at the bachelor’s and master’s level for civil engineering programs. Some of the BOK outcomes will present challenges for faculty and programs. It will be necessary to develop new educational materials and teaching techniques to facilitate BOK implementation.

As an example, BOK outcomes 13 – 15 require graduates to explain concepts and problem solving processes involving management, business, public policy, public administration, and leadership. These topics may not be addressed in current or future courses. Instead, it may be preferable to integrate the topics into existing courses.

These outcomes can be difficult to document, unless case studies are included in the curriculum. None of these documents specifically mentions failure case studies. This paper argues that they are one of the methods that may be used to address these outcomes.

In February 2008, ASCE published the second edition of the BOK4. These 24 outcomes are different from the 15 in the original BOK, although the report provides tables to show how the old outcomes map to the new.

Delatte, N. (2008, June), Using Failure Case Studies To Address Civil Engineering Program And Bok Criteria Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3350

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