ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria Draft

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8. apply principles of…leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • 1.  8. apply principles of…leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Posted 06-15-2021 03:23 PM

    I moved this post under the correct feedback section. Disregard the redundancy.
    Good afternoon,
    When several of us faculty members reviewed the proposed criteria, we were happy to see attention given to diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, we see a problem with the verb proposes to use with it, "apply" rather than "explain." Likewise with leadership – the proposed criteria changes the verb from "explain" to "apply." Here are existing and proposed criteria for DEI, sustainability, leadership, and project management:



    • explain basic concepts in project management, business, public policy, and leadership;
    • include principles of sustainability in design



    • explain concepts and principles in project management and engineering economics
    • apply principles of sustainability, leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the formulation and solution of civil engineering problems;


    "Apply" is considered a higher form of learning than "explain" in Bloom's taxonomy. Note that they propose no real change for sustainability (the change from "include … in design" to "apply … in a solution" is not a real change) or for project management; one stays "apply" and one stays "explain." But for leadership, they propose shifting it from "explain" to "apply." And they want to bring DEI in with the verb "apply."


    We're concerned about how we could accomplish this. Leadership is important in design when unexpected adversity or opportunity comes up; it's hard to ensure that students will have problems to solve that involve applying leadership. One could fake it and say that all the capstone groups have teams with a leader, but in most cases, that's project management, not leadership. If leadership is to remain in the curricular requirements, it should be kept at the level of "explain," so that the students get a case or a presentation about the importance of leadership in certain projects, and they reflect on that.


    Likewise with DEI. Our Professional Issues course already addresses DEI both in the workforce and also in how it affects the way projects and formulated and solved. But in that course, students don't actually formulate or solve problems, so it would be hard to argue that this course satisfy the proposed criteria. Similarly, it would not be practical to expect project electives or capstone electives to be of a nature that DEI applies to how the problem is formulated and solved, because so many of the projects in those courses just don't have those aspects.


    So, might it be better to have something like this: "Explain concepts and principles in leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, project management. and engineering economics, and how they affect the formulation and solution of civil engineering problems"


    Jessica Ormsby, M.Ed., A.M.ASCE
    Associate Co-op Coordinator Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Northeastern University, Boston MA

  • 2.  RE: 8. apply principles of…leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Posted 06-16-2021 06:19 PM
    Thank you for moving your comment to the appropriate section.  I would also like to thank you for taking the time to provide your comments.  They will be shared with the task committee.  Thank you,

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

  • 3.  RE: 8. apply principles of…leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Posted 06-21-2021 02:09 PM
    Jessica, I want to thank you for raising this issue. I share your concern. It is not clear to me what we can a curriculum can demonstrate that the students "apply" these principles. It seems to me that the people writing these criteria are not actually implementing them in programs themselves.

    John Ivan P.E., M.ASCE
    Univ Of Connecticut
    Storrs Mansfield CT