ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria Draft

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_2. Applicability Clause

  • 1.  _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 04-28-2021 03:46 PM

    CURRENT CRITERIA

    PROPOSED CRITERIA

    RATIONALE FOR CHANGE

    These program criteria apply to engineering programs that include "civil" or similar modifiers in their titles.

    These program criteria apply to engineering programs that include "civil," "infrastructure," or similar modifiers in their titles.

    • Addition of infrastructure to the Applicability Clause addresses one of ASCE's major strategic priorities by ensuring that programs named "Infrastructure Engineering" meet the CE Program Criteria and are overseen by ASCE.


  • 2.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-28-2021 05:04 PM
    I believe that this is a good addition. It anticipates that "infrastructure" programs will be subject to the CE program criteria. As "infrastructure" becomes a more frequent term used in conversations I believe that we can anticipate that the word will find its way as a descriptor in engineering programs.

    ------------------------------
    John Koon, Ph.D., P.E., F. ASCE
    Professor of Practice - Georgia Institute of Technology
    John H Koon and Associates
    Atlanta GA
    [Phone]
    Ph.D., P.E.Ph.D., P.E.Ph.D., P.E.
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-28-2021 07:20 PM
    Dr. Koon, that is exactly the sentiment of some of the Task Committee members.  Many civil engineering projects are infrastructure projects and the Task Committee believes that as "infrastructure" becomes part of the common lexicon, ASCE is the best professional society to meet the needs of the industry.

    ------------------------------
    Herbert Raybourn P.E., M.ASCE
    Manager, Environmental Permitting Department
    Walt Disney World Resort
    Lake Buena Vista FL
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-28-2021 08:52 PM
    I apologize for my passionate comment in advance. Half joking, this offends me as a civil engineer.

    I am not in favor of calling out infrastructure as a program name at all. Infrastructure is what civil engineers design, build, and operate. I think most, not many, civil engineering projects in the real world workplace are infrastructure projects. Definition of infrastructure: the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.

    I think we should embrace being civil engineers, who's job it is to provide infrastructure for our communities so that people can live high quality lives (paraphrasing Code of Ethics 1. Society). We are really the world's oldest profession, we have adapted for centuries, and we should be able to explain who and what we are and attract attention without adopting new names. Is it really difficult for a lay person to understand that civil engineer just means an engineer that solves problems for the benefit of civilization?

    I get the sense from the rationale infrastructure, a word I do in fact embrace for other uses, is finding it's way into the proposed criteria because it is a popular word in politics and the media right now. Infrastructure should be reserved for describing what we design, build, and operate and perhaps only as an emphasis within civil engineering programs, specifically at the graduate level, not promoted as a type of program that will end up competing against civil engineering. At my college I've seen what name change and name appropriation does to program stability and it is not pretty. We could be asking for the argument that a business manager is better suited to run a DOT engineering district to remerge if we don't remain consolidated as civil engineers. Infrastructure to the uninformed is nothing more than an asset.

    On the ground in higher education, recruiting students to STEM is becoming challenging enough. I have firsthand experience of having to explain to high school students that an engineer doesn't drive a train and a surveyor doesn't take a census. The profession needs to do a much better job of explaining who we are, not changing who we are. I personally feel we as individual civil engineers can make more progress on infrastructure initiatives if we invest more time in our communities, specifically engaging with students in middle schools and high schools. Too often I hear "Civil engineering seems like it's really cool. I wish I had heard about it when I was in school" from adults deep into their careers in something else. The best advocate for the profession is the civil engineer that is approachable, compassionate, and generous with knowledge, not a title or program name.

    On a practical note, many civil engineering employers specifically recruit candidates that have "civil engineering" degrees. This is especially true for state agencies which must follow civil service rules and cannot hire if qualifications are not met exactly as stated. State agencies change at a glacial pace. It would not be a fun conversation to have with a graduate that was denied an interview because of the name of the program on their degree. If this name change is incorporated, it will require a nationwide effort of coordination with the people that hire our graduates in advance of awarding them these degrees.

    ------------------------------
    David Fedor P.E., M.S.
    Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology
    Pennsylvania College of Technology
    Williamsport, PA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-29-2021 06:45 AM
    Thank you, Mr. Fedor, for your concern about the potential to confuse the understanding of civil engineering as a professional field with what civil engineers do, i.e., design, build, operate, and maintain infrastructure.  The suggested addition of "infrastructure" to the applicability clause is not "because it is a popular word in politics and the media right now" but rather because three EAC-accredited programs (George Mason University and two international programs) already use the word "infrastructure" in their program names.  In all three cases, the full program name is "Civil and Infrastructure Engineering," so these programs are already required to use the CE Program Criteria.  The rationale for the suggested addition of "infrastructure" to the applicability clause is to get ahead of the the trend in development of "infrastructure engineering" programs so that we (ASCE) lay claim to such baccalaureate programs,  since infrastructure development, management, and revitalization is indeed what civil engineers do, as you so convincingly explain.

    ------------------------------
    David Dzombak, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE
    Hamerschlag University Professor and Dept Head
    Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    [email protected]
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-29-2021 08:10 AM
    I also encourage the committee to add "structural" to the applicability list. There are a couple of structural engineering programs that are accredited under the ABET general criteria. These programs do not have to meet the CE program criteria. I believe that structural engineers should be required to meet applicable program criteria. The addition of "structural" would correct an issue that has been present for several years.

    ------------------------------
    John Koon, Ph.D., P.E., F. ASCE
    Professor of Practice - Georgia Institute of Technology
    John H Koon and Associates
    Atlanta GA
    [Phone]
    Ph.D., P.E.Ph.D., P.E.Ph.D., P.E.
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-30-2021 03:59 AM
    • 2. Applicability Clause

    The more detailed we make the name of the CE's educational program,

    the more we constrain that engineer's attractiveness to employers.

     

    "Infrastructure" is just one application of what many CEs do, it is not who they are.

     

    The expression "Civil and Infrastructure Engineering" is being used as a marketing

    "Hook" in positioning one program over another for schools that compete for students.

     

    "I also encourage the committee to add "structural" to the applicability list."

    The narrower we make the label for the initial four-year program, the less comprehensive the education provided.

     

    "design, build, operate, and maintain infrastructure."

    Please add, prior to  "design," the front end " Plan & Evaluate Alternatives."

     

    In closing, I admit it was extremely difficult for me not to comment on the assertion:

    "We are really the world's oldest profession."

     

    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,

    Bill

    p.s. In time past, we used t say "If you can't be civil, at least be sanitary!"#



    ------------------------------
    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 05-30-2021 09:39 AM
    This.

    Dr. Hayden's comments align with mine without the emotion in my post. He clearly and concisely states the problems we are asking for. I am ok with infrastructure or structural as names for graduate programs, or being embraced as specializations within an undergraduate civil engineering program, but not as a equal name to civil engineering.

    We must remain consolidated. Civil engineering and mechanical engineering are the top two areas of engineering for number of students graduated. A name change runs the risk of making us smaller in statistical reporting by National Center for Education Statistics or American Society of Engineering Educators or Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    With regards to the "Hook", based on my experience, Dr. Hayden is 100% correct. I will concede that I don't know the rationale that the programs that are using infrastructure in their name used to justify it. I don't mean to give the impression I am besmirching another program because that is not my intent. My intent is to make sure we are using sound basis to justify any change we make.

    Every institution is dealing with the fact that not enough traditional college students were born 18ish years ago and that is going to cause enrollment issues for at least the next decade. We are seeing some practices tried or implemented in higher education that should have been a long time, and we are seen some things that are purely done for enrollment management purposes.

    From my personal experience in the education industry, many changes are being made to sustain institutions as is rather than to adapt than to the world we live in now. I've seen a program at my college have a 100-200% increase in enrollment through a name change and then decline back towards their regular enrollment level. Name changes don't sustain enrollment. At best they give a temporary boost caused by scarce resources (students) being drawn away from somewhere else which shifts the problem the first program had to other programs.

    We need to increase the pool of students interested in civil engineering and avoid the trap of drawing a limited pool of students to one program over another. I don't think a name change increases the pool of student interested in civil engineering. Civil engineers taking a direct interest in the education of secondary school students and building relationships with their influencers might.

    ------------------------------
    David Fedor P.E., M.S.
    Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology
    Pennsylvania College of Technology
    Williamsport, PA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-02-2021 11:39 AM
    Professor Fedor, the proposed addition to the applicability clause will not change any names, nor is it intended to encourage specialization.  Rather, the clause is intended only to clarify that an engineering program which chooses to name itself with the term "infrastructure" will be required to meet the civil engineering program criteria.  Similar examples can be found in the applicability clauses of various other program criteria under the EAC, ETAC, etc.  Nevertheless, your comments are appreciated and will be considered by the CEPCTC.

    ------------------------------
    Wayne Bergstrom Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Bechtel Corp
    Reston VA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-02-2021 11:47 AM
    I would also like to acknowledge the suggestions by both Dr. Koon and Dr. Hayden that "structural" be added to the applicability clause.  This is a longstanding issue with numerous stakeholders, but the CEPCTC will consider your suggestions.

    ------------------------------
    Wayne Bergstrom Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Bechtel Corp
    Reston VA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-02-2021 12:51 PM
    I believe that "infrastructure" is too specific.  My degree is in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  That is the only discipline to fully define itself apart at the undergrad level.  Even then, it leaves some interpretation for the "natural environment" vs. the "built environment" AKA infrastructure.  Including "environmental" would be more suitable.

    ------------------------------
    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-04-2021 11:54 AM
    Mr. Morrison, there is a separate set of EAC/ABET program criteria specifically applicable to environmental engineering, for which the AAEES is the Lead Society and ASCE is a Cooperating Society.  Therefore ASCE has no reason to add "environmental" to the applicability statement for the civil engineering program criteria.  Note, however, that accredited programs in "civil and environmental engineering" are required to meet both sets of program criteria.

    Thank you for your interest and perspectives.

    ------------------------------
    Wayne Bergstrom Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE
    Principal Engineer
    Bechtel Corp
    Reston VA
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-04-2021 06:08 PM
    Do not change applicability clause. Including programs who self-describe their kind of engineering "Infrastructure" without including "Civil" is inappropriate and dilutes the specificity and usefulness of the term "Civil Engineering." Whatever is meant by "Infrastructure Engineering" seems to be a subset of "Civil Engineering". The term "Civil Engineering" is as robust as the terms "Mechanical Engineering", "Chemical Engineering", and "Electrical Engineering."

    Rebuttals to previous Task Committee justifications replying to objections to adding "Infrastructure":

    1) "(George Mason University and two international programs)" The GMU program name was politically necessitated since VA restricted GMU to "new" programs not offered by other state supported schools. The international programs are a very weak argument since specifics are omitted and American English usage dominates international engineering discourse.
    "In all three cases, the full program name is "Civil and Infrastructure Engineering," so these programs are already required to use the CE Program Criteria." Again, weak justification for change since all existing examples render the change mote.

    2) "ASCE is the best professional society to meet the needs of the industry." "so that we (ASCE) lay claim to such baccalaureate programs"
    ASCE and ABET made arguments that our societies should get ahead of globalization trends and establish ourselves as setting the international standards when ABET eliminated the "substantially equivalent" accreditation for non-American institutions. Now ABET accredits programs that have no national option available to women, members of non-dominate religions, and/or members of non-dominate minorities to obtain degrees. Programs in closed societies are accredited as meeting "
    an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts" and "a broad education component that complements the technical content of the curriculum and is consistent with the program educational objectives" requirements. Why is the addition of "Infrastructure" (without including "Civil") justified by wanting to chase a bigger "market?"

    W. M. Kim Roddis, Ph.D., P.E.(KS), F. ASCE, Professor
    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    George Washington University
    Washington DC
    Email:[email protected] WEB:www.cee.seas.gwu.edu

    ------------------------------
    W. M. Kim Roddis P.E., F.ASCE
    The George Washington University
    Washington DC
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-04-2021 06:38 PM
    Professor Roddis,

    Thanks for contributing to this discussion.  You've made some excellent points.  I'll like to make three points in response:

    (1) It's important to note that, right now, any program can call itself Infrastructure Engineering.  There's no restriction on the use of this program name.  And under the current ABET rules, a program that calls itself "Infrastructure Engineering" does not need to comply with any Program Criteria.  Our proposed addition to the applicability clause would only ensure that such programs comply with the CE Program Criteria.

    (2) I completely agree with your statement that Infrastructure is a subset of CE.  But it's entirely possible that another professional society (say ASME or IEEE) could add "Infrastructure" to their own program criteria--in which case, Infrastructure Engineering would become permanently divorced from civil.  (And by the way, if this happened, then programs named "Civil & Infrastructure Engineering" would need to comply with two different sets of Program Criteria.]

    (3) It's absolutely not the Task Committee's intent to chase a bigger market.  Our only goal in suggesting this addition is to ensure that any program that chooses to call itself Infrastructure Engineering remains within the realm of civil engineering.

    By the way, I absolutely agree with your concerns about ABET's international program.

    Again, thanks for your input.  The Task Committee will definitely be revisiting this issue.

    ------------------------------
    Stephen Ressler Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE
    Professor Emeritus
    Bethlehem PA
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  • 15.  RE: _2. Applicability Clause

    Posted 06-09-2021 11:22 AM
    All:
    I've read more of the ABET documents, looked at other programs using General Criteria Only, and thought about Stephen Ressler's response. I withdraw my objection to changing the applicability clause to include "infrastructure." Good discussion.

    ------------------------------
    W. M. Kim Roddis P.E., F.ASCE
    The George Washington University
    Washington DC
    ------------------------------