ABET Civil Engineering Program Criteria Draft

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15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

  • 1.  15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

    Posted 04-29-2021 02:46 PM

    CURRENT CRITERIA

    PROPOSED CRITERIA

    RATIONALE FOR CHANGE

    The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content are qualified to teach the subject matter by virtue of professional licensure, or by education and design experience. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content are qualified to teach the subject matter by virtue of professional licensure, or by education and design experience.
    • NO CHANGE


  • 2.  RE: 15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

    Posted 06-24-2021 02:54 PM
    I find it interesting that no one has yet commented on this criterion, given that it's the one program criterion that I get the most criticism about from department chairs.

    I support this criterion and glad to see it retained in the program criteria.  That being said, I think we need some guidance in the commentary about what constitutes appropriate "education and experience" for those faculty who do not hold a PE license (or other pertinent registration).  I say this in my role as PEV more so than as a department chair.  I have seen a wide disparity of what PEVs think is adequate education and experience, from those who completely ignore this criterion to those believe anything short of years of design practice outside of academia is insufficient.  I've been told these discrepancies get workout in the editing and review process, but that does solve the problem at its root.

    I have a suggestion for the commentary.  I believe it's correct that NCEES considers teaching of upper division engineering courses as relevant PE experience.  I believe this is a good national standard that can be used to evaluate compliance with this criterion.  I realize not all states have the same definition for PE experience.  California, for example, does not allow academic experience to count toward PE experience requirements. However, we are not evaluating faculty as PEs, we are trying to ensure design content and teaching is appropriate.  This is the guidance I personally use when evaluating this criterion for faculty who don't hold a PE or other appropriate license.

    Finally, I'll point out that holding a PE license, in itself, is no guarantee that a faculty member is a competent teacher of engineering design.

    WAK

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    William Kitch Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Angelo State University
    San Angelo TX
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  • 3.  RE: 15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

    Posted 06-25-2021 08:25 AM
    Bill, speaking personally here.  This issue also exists in the ArchE and EnvE criteria.  I've always had a problem with this since (my old gray hairs are going to show here) the underlying philosophy of EC 2000 was looking at outcomes not inputs.  Whether faculty have a PE or not is an input, and I'd personally like to get away from this.  Whether students are appropriately prepared for the FE, and have the knowledge, skills and attributes to become professionals (which is frequently in the program educational objectives) is what should be judged.

    I remember 40 years ago a very distinguished colleague (who is still with the profession) stating that (he was a department chair at the time) that the only faculty qualified to teach design in his department were not PE's, and he didn't feel any of the PE's were qualified to teach design. And he was also in a state where academic experience could not be counted towards the PE.

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    Charles Haas F.ASCE
    LD Betz Professor of Environ. Eng. & Department Head - Civil, Architectural and Environmental Eng.
    Philadelphia PA
    [Phone]
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  • 4.  RE: 15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

    Posted 06-26-2021 09:13 PM
    I agree that clarification is needed. I think all the proposed criteria should clearly lay out the boundaries. In civil engineering practice, the design engineers have to stay within the boundaries of the adopted design guidance and codes and the contractors have to stay within the boundaries of the project's plans and specifications. The material these documents were founded on is usually meaningless to the lawyers when they search for intent to resolve a dispute, at least from what I was taught at the DOT by people that had firsthand knowledge of the legal process. Unclear criteria beg for PEV to deviate from it because the PEV is uncertain about the author's intent.

    Personally I think practical experience, academic experience, and licensure are all important. Those three things give the students exposure to diverse lived experiences and helps them develop broader perspectives about the profession and it's role in society. However, not every faculty person needs to have all three to be an effective teacher. The program in totality should be judged to show that it covers those three areas. Content should drive what credentials are needed within each course. Perhaps some guidance like "a faculty person must posses either a P.E. license, earned at least one degree above the degree being taught in the program, or have research experience directly related to the field of study being taught" could suffice.

    I personally don't think teaching design at any level in academia is relevant PE experience. From personal experience in graduate school, in the workforce, and now as an educator, there are things that are part of design that cannot be simulated in academia to the extent that they are a substitute for real world experience. I do think state boards have the right to regulate relevant PE experience as they see fit.

    I am offering the following constructive criticism because the new criteria in general are further moving in the direction of more theoretical education for EAC students. Most employers (typically large national firms) that are initiating contact with my program (ETAC) to build a relationship say that they are approaching us because EAC schools are too theoretical. They want graduates that can apply the material on day one, in addition to the knowledge to pass the FE and how to behave professionally. Passing the FE and modeling professional behavior is a low bar to set for a civil engineering graduate. First, there are many career paths a graduate can take with a civil engineering degree. Some don't require licensure are more attractive to new graduate because they pay more and require less engineering responsibility. They still require a civil engineering or related degree though. The employer will groom the graduate to fit into their culture. Second, technically a recent graduate with a BS civil engineering that passed the FE has enough knowledge to prepare a student for the FE. I am not saying that would be an appropriate education, but it would be adequate preparation to pass the FE based on what it tests. The FE tests is fundamental knowledge; it doesn't predict how productive or effective a graduate will be in an entry level civil engineering job. Practical skills for how to do an entry level civil engineering job are lacking, based both on what employers are complaining about and from my EAC education.

    The traditional career path for an educator at an EAC school is probably not to get a PE through workforce experience. However, it would be an added value for the students and employers to increase the number of faculty in academia that matriculated through the workforce, especially for those teaching design and capstone courses.

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    David Fedor P.E., M.S.
    Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology
    Pennsylvania College of Technology
    Williamsport, PA
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  • 5.  RE: 15. The program must demonstrate that faculty teaching courses that are primarily design in content...

    Posted 06-26-2021 11:38 PM
    Professors Kitch, Haas, and Fedor, I would like to thank each of you for your comments on this particular provision, even though no change was proposed at this point.  This provision has long had supporters and detractors, with some very good reasons in support of both views.  The CEPCTC will review this provision in light of your comments, and perhaps other comments not yet received.  Regardless whether any change is ultimately proposed, we will also review how this provision is addressed in the Commentary to provide clarity without limiting the flexibility it provides to programs and their faculty.

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