ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria Draft

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Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

  • 1.  Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 05-24-2021 07:07 PM
    Employment statistics show that 91% of civil engineers work either in engineering services or in state and local governments at jobs that focus mainly on public works.   Yet our program criteria do not require CE students to demonstrate how infrastructure projects work their way through mostly-government approval processes.  Universities have almost no time in the curriculum to add such requirements, and many civil engineering faculty lack experience in these processes.  I suggest adding a statement in the program criteria to require that graduates demonstrate knowledge of governance processes that control approval of infrastructure projects.  This requirement would signal to faculty to learn about this and integrate it into existing courses.

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    Neil Grigg Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE(Ret.), F.ASCE
    Prof
    Colorado State University
    Fort Collins CO
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  • 2.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 05-26-2021 11:07 AM
    Graduates need to be introduced to and understand the alternatives development, evaluation and selection process including the multi-discipline input and review processes, specifically political, environmental and regulatory as these real life components can conflict, delay or complicate otherwise seemingly straight forward engineering analyses, designs and projects.

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    Jeffrey Heden M.ASCE
    President, CEO
    J. C. Heden and Associates, Inc.
    San Diego CA
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  • 3.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 05-26-2021 12:57 PM
    Mr. Heden, thanks much for your input.

    I believe your concerns are addressed in the ABET EAC General Criteria, which require that students can "apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors."

    To comply with this requirement, the character of the students' design experience must comply with the following definition:
    "Engineering design is a process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs and specifications within constraints. It is an iterative, creative, decision-making process in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources into solutions. Engineering design involves identifying opportunities, developing requirements, performing analysis and synthesis, generating multiple solutions, evaluating solutions against requirements, considering risks, and making trade- offs, for the purpose of obtaining a high-quality solution under the given circumstances. For illustrative purposes only, examples of possible constraints include accessibility, aesthetics, codes, constructability, cost, ergonomics, extensibility, functionality, interoperability, legal considerations, maintainability, manufacturability, marketability, policy, regulations, schedule, standards, sustainability, or usability."

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    Stephen Ressler Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE
    Professor Emeritus
    Bethlehem PA
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  • 4.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 05-26-2021 12:49 PM
    Professor Grigg, thanks for your feedback.  You make a very compelling case for the inclusion of this topic.  The Task Committee will definitely consider it for inclusion in the criteria.

    I should add that, according to ASCE's process for criteria development, it might turn out to be more appropriate to consider this topic--the approval process for infrastructure projects--for inclusion in the next edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, which is the primary driver for accreditation criteria changes.  But the Task Committee will need to decide that issue.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful input.

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    Stephen Ressler Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE
    Professor Emeritus
    Bethlehem PA
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  • 5.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 05-26-2021 01:10 PM
    I agree, and while we don't have a formal process to address this in our curriculum at my University, whenever I am the faculty in charge of our Senior Capstone course, I require students to attend city/county council meetings, government subcommittee meetings, and public meetings.   I have them write a summary of the meetings and a personal reflection about what they learned.    It's been very enlightening for them.

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    Timothy Murphy P.E., M.ASCE
    Professor
    Trine University
    Angola IN
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  • 6.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 06-02-2021 11:57 AM

    "I require students to attend city/county council meetings, government subcommittee meetings, and public meetings.   I have them write a summary of the meetings and a personal reflection about what they learned. It's been very enlightening for them."

    Please place Professor Murphy's above requirements[1] into the criteria.

    Years ago, I was told three-ways to learn how to ride a horse:

    1. Read about it.
    2. List to a lecture about it.
    3. Get up on a horse and ride it.

    For #3, you will learn more in the first 3 minutes than in the next three weeks!

    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,

    Bill

    [1] Perhaps Prof Murphy might place his students' lessons learned into a brief study guide for others just starting out.



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    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
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  • 7.  RE: Civil engineers to explain how infrastructure projects are approved

    Posted 06-03-2021 04:50 AM

    Dr Hayden & Professor Murphy (Bill & TJ),

    From teenage years to the current times, I confess to having attended and on occasion even watched such events [city/county council meetings, county commissioner meetings, planning & zoning boards, ... public meetings] on the local cable access channel although I do not have cable these days.  I suspect one of the first events I attended was a requirement for a Boy Scout merit badge, Citizenship in the Community.  At times, when I had cable, I also watched C-Span too!

    There are so many opportunities for civil engineering to be "real" with what is covered in classes, i.e. riding a horse rather than reading about it or listening to a lecture.  Fortunately many of these meetings & events are broadcast over WWW and archived on websites.  YouTube has several decent videos available.  I use the following in some classes:   Bid opening for New Haven highway interchange  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab9nlrh6nEM

    For just about 3 minutes of time (which may be beyond attention spans of some students even w/ YouTube), I want students to discuss & respond about the first 12 seconds 1)  Why is a room full of people just to hear numbers read off for only 1 bid?  And then also near the end about time of 2:50  2)  Why is someone so happy about the numbers?

    Yes, also can talk about the actual bid amounts, project is "just" an interchange for how much $, bids are by JV (joint ventures) for the most part, possibly too big for just single companies or very risky, how much time & effort (cost) went into the bids and what is the end result for those not involved with the winning bid?

    New Haven in the above video is not the city adjoining just next door to me in Fort Wayne, IN. is something I can often connect with students too if I am using this video in a class around northeast Indiana. If anyone finds a video of a late bid submission attempt of just a few seconds that is turned away, that would be a great resource to use about discussion of late assignment submissions.  I have yet to find such a video though.  Why does this video noted above have only 2770 views?  The video is riveting - I have watched several times.  Maybe it is because the actual opening of the envelopes portion was edited out.   I welcome others sharing with me what they notice in the video, items that stand out to them.

    Cheers,

    dpd


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    David Devine P.E., P.S., M.ASCE
    Fort Wayne IN
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