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Work in Progress: Integrating Civil Engineering Design Software into the Curriculum to Enhance Career Readiness Skills

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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

It's All About the Student: Integration, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, and Self-Efficacy

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Todd M. Brown P.E. University of Hartford

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Todd Brown, P.E. received his MSCE from the University of New Hampshire in 1984. He worked as an environmental engineer in the Army for 4 years and then 28 years at Tighe & Bond working on contaminated sites, industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, collection systems, water transmission mains and urban redevelopment projects. In 2016, he became an Applied Assistant Professor in the Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Hartford. He teaches classes in water quality engineering, capstone design and 1st and 2nd year engineering design courses. Todd focuses on preparing students to be successful in their real-world careers.

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David Pines University of Hartford

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David Pines is a Professor in the Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering Department and Assistant Dean for Student Support in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford. He completed his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2000. He is actively involved in promoting career readiness skills in the classroom and through extracurricular activities by developing strong public, private, and academic partnerships. This effort is complemented by his interest in providing students the opportunity to apply classroom learning to address the global challenges of water, energy, and food security facing Kenyan and Indian communities.

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Don Quinn

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Don Quinn is an Engineering Consultant and Implementation Specialist here at Eagle Point. Don is a degreed Civil Engineer and has worked for Eagle Point for 20 years. In his various job roles at Eagle Point, he has helped hundreds of clients implement technology solutions into their business. His primary focus today is to help our clients with their Pinnacle Series implementation, but Don is also one of our Autodesk product experts. While at Eagle Point, Don has been a technical support resource for our clients, a software trainer, project consultant, and Pinnacle Series content author and contributor. He performs numerous internet and in-person presentations for various client types and sizes.

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The professional practice of Civil Engineering relies on both the understanding of fundamental engineering concepts and the ability to use software for efficiently designing buildings, bridges, roads, sites and infrastructure pipe networks. The Civil Engineering Department at the University of Hartford has embraced the challenge of updating many of our courses to include the use of Civil3D into all four years of the students’ curriculum to enhance learning and to improve students’ success in landing a career. Based on advice from the Department’s Advisory Board, Civil3D was selected as the software platform that is used throughout the civil engineering industry.

This initiative supports the overriding theme of the Third Edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge that is “focused on preparing the future civil engineer for entry into the practice of civil engineering at the professional level [1].” Specifically, the use of design software enhances the Engineering Fundamental Outcome of Critical Thinking & Problem Solving and the Technical Outcome of Design. The assignments used in junior and senior level courses focus both on the technical (e.g. size and slope of pipe) and constructability/maintainability (e.g. proximity to other utilities and access for maintenance) aspects of design that engineers face in practice.

The Department leveraged a faculty development grant to pay professors to learn the software and to build it into the curriculum for their classes. The Department also partnered with Eagle Point Software to make their on-line training platform available to every civil engineering student and faculty member to provide on-demand assistance with Civil3D and AutoCad commands and work flows.

In its second year of implementation, we have observed significant improvement of Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), problem solving, and design skills in our senior class. Our Advisory Board members and alumni have advised us of the importance of frequent use of computer design skills to achieve fluency in applying the skills for the practice of engineering at the professional level. Assessment of the project is achieved through review of project assignments and project deliverables with working professionals who have and will continue to provide feedback relating to the skills our students are demonstrating and through the direct polling of current students. We also intend to begin polling employers of recent graduates about the level of preparedness for the job.

Brown, T. M., & Pines, D., & Quinn, D. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Integrating Civil Engineering Design Software into the Curriculum to Enhance Career Readiness Skills Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33633

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