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RATIONALE FOR CHANGE
and explain the importance of professional licensure.
explain the professional attitudes and responsibilities of a civil engineer, including licensure and safety.
· The ability to "explain professional attitudes relevant to the practice of civil engineering" is specified as a stand-alone outcome of the CEBOK3.
· According to the CEBOK3, professional attitudes include creativity, curiosity, flexibility, and dependability.
· The CEBOK3 also includes the outcome: "explain professional responsibilities relevant to the practice of civil engineering, including safety, legal issues, licensure, credentialing, and innovation." Of the specific professional responsibilities listed in the CEBOK3 outcome, only licensure and safety are included in the CEPC. This reflects ASCE's strong emphasis on both professional licensure and safety, while allowing programs greater flexibility to define and emphasize other professional responsibilities.
Frequently Asked Question # 1: Why were " professional attitudes and responsibilities" added to the program criteria?
Answer (As a CEPC Task Committee member) : To be successful in their workplace, civil engineers should possess not only technical knowledge to solve the civil engineering problems, but also professional skills to work in a team. The Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK3) identifies "professional attitudes and responsibilities" labeled as "professional outcomes" as two of the professional skills that engineers should attain. It also defines and elaborates the importance of them. Professional attitudes and responsibilities can be acquired in undergraduate education at a lower level, and by mentored experience in professional practice at a higher level. In undergraduate education, they can be included as part of the civil engineering curriculum. It should be noted that in the undergraduate curriculum there is no requirement to assess the students' ability to explain the professional attitudes and responsibilities.
According to the CEBOK3, positive professional attitudes create a more effective and pleasant workplace. Perceptions of civil engineers may be enhanced by exhibiting positive attitudes which will likely lead to better career opportunities for civil engineers.
Frequently Asked Question # 2: How can a program implement the "professional attitudes and responsibilities" requirement?
Answer (As a CEPC Task Committee member): The curricular topics on "professional attitudes and responsibilities" need not to be extensive as long as the student can generally explain their definition, importance and give examples of how to incorporate them in the workplace. Therefore, there is no need to develop a separate course in the curriculum. These topics can be covered in a class of any required course. For example many civil engineering programs offer an "introduction to civil engineering" course to first-year or sophomore students. One lecture can cover the required topics and a simple class test can reveal whether the students can explain some basics of this curricular topic. These topics can be also covered in upper level courses including the senior design course. The syllabus of the course can be modified to include the professional attitudes and responsibilities.
A seminar on professional attitudes and responsibilities can be organized by the student chapter of ASCE or a department. The students could be incentivized to attend. A copy of the seminar's agenda and the topics covered in the seminar should be adequate to demonstrate that these topics are covered in the curriculum.
As part of advising, an advisor can offer "career advice" to the students on the importance of professional attitudes and responsibilities in the workplace. Inclusion in faculty mentoring guidance of the importance of discussing professional attitudes and responsibilities with students would be one way of demonstrating program commitment to these topics.
Another way of introducing these topics in the curriculum is through a student's "self-study." Many free mini courses can be found online on "attitudes." The CEBOK3 publication contains topics on professional attitudes and responsibilities. It can be downloaded freely from the ASCE website. Student's work as part of the self-study should prove that these topics are included in the curriculum.
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From their very first week of class, these potential Civil Engineers need to be "Inoculated" with the goal that Civil Engineers are to protect the safety, health, and welfare of the public. This goal is a constant for any level of Civil Engineering work, in any capacity.
No question that their skills with calculations, drafting, and the like are quite important. But as their technical skills improve and change with time, this overarching goal will never change.
Thank you, Dr. Hayden, Mr. Morrison, and Prof. Fedor for your thoughtful input which will be considered in preparing the commentary on the Program Criteria. I also want to thank Dr. Sutterer, my colleague in the CEPC Task Committee for responding to the questions raised in the forum. A copy of the BOK3 document is available in the library of this forum. This document contains detailed information on the "Attitudes" and "Professional Responsibilities." As mentioned earlier, while an aspiring civil engineering student can't learn all the attributes of these outcomes outlined in the BOK3 document in an academic environment, exposure to these outcomes even at the minimum level will set the stage for the student to attain them at a higher level during the professional practice.