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Will Ten Pounds Fit Into A Five Pound Bag?

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Implementing the BOK - Can it Be Done?

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1472.1 - 10.1472.20



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Paper Authors

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Karl Meyer

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Allen Estes

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Ronald Welch

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

Session 1615

Will Ten Pounds Fit into a Five Pound Bag? Allen C. Estes, Ronald W. Welch, Karl F. Meyer United States Military Academy


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 engineer (ASCE, 2004a). 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 are defined as recognition, understanding, and ability. 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. As the policy comes to fruition, draft commentaries are being published that provide more specific guidance and elaborate on the intent of the BOK outcomes.

The BOK outcomes are closely linked to the accreditation criteria (ABET 2004) for ABET accredited civil engineering programs. The draft commentary which provides guidance to civil engineering program ABET evaluators (ASCE 2004b) is ambitious in what undergraduate civil engineering programs are expected to achieve. The requirements include for example, “an understanding in most of the following: biology, geology/geomorphology, engineering economics, mechanics, material properties, systems, geospatial representation, and information technology.” There is an increased emphasis on ethics, leadership, social awareness, political understanding, public policy, and business practice. The outcome that requires an understanding of asset management suggests the use of tools and techniques that include “design innovations, new construction technologies, materials improvements, geo-mapping, database management, value assessment, performance models, web-based communication, and cost accounting.” There is a clear emphasis on breadth at the undergraduate level with much of the specialized knowledge deferred to masters level education.

The United States Military Academy (USMA) has one of the more broad-based curricula in comparison to other undergraduate ABET-accredited Civil Engineering programs in the U.S. The program requires 142 credit hours before counting military science and physical education. Outside of the math, science and engineering courses, every student takes English composition and literature (3 semesters), world or U.S. history (two semesters), psychology, economics, philosophy, foreign language (2 semesters), political science, geography, international relations, leadership, military history (2 semesters), and constitutional/military law. The program is so broad that it barely satisfies the minimum accreditation requirements in the more technical civil engineering areas.

Because of the unique nature of the USMA Civil Engineering program, West Point joined the ASCE Curriculum Committee, a sub-committee of Curriculum Committee of the Committee on

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Meyer, K., & Estes, A., & Welch, R. (2005, June), Will Ten Pounds Fit Into A Five Pound Bag? Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14430

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