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What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

  • 1.  What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 12-16-2020 04:34 PM
    On 26SEPT2018, Stephanie Slocum, P.E., posted the following in Horizontal/Subsurface Infrastructure and Transportation forum,
    "It's really interesting that there are a number of comments noting that human psychology and engineering design need to work hand and hand to solve this problem. If civil engineers are not leading the change on this (and understanding that most us have no educational background in psychology), who do we think would be the best positioned/knowledgeable to do so?"

    Reflection on Recent Past 
    In 1957 I was proud as can be walking the campus at the "SUNY/Farmingdale" Campus, as a new want-to-be-a Civil Engineer, initially with a two-year degree, A.A.S. Highway and Bridge Engineer!
    Why?
    Because hooked on my belt was a slide rule in a real black leather case that publicly made clear to all:
    "This guy looks like he is an engineer!"
    Then as time passed, technology made hand-held HP battery computers.
    Also we changed our land survey transit to a new and improved direct-reading theodolite.

    Today's evidence for revising educational engineering degree and professional license exam requirements to require non-engineering subjects is overwhelming.
    Yet so many engineering deans and CEOs still hang on to the rich traditions of their past.

    "Those who don't study history, and stand in the 'middle-of-the-road' thinking about change will get run-over by those doing it."

    Q. What and how do you perceive the addition of courses in sociocultural psychology, listening and speaking communication competence, and removing fear from the workplace will take to bring the 'people' skills of engineer's competence up to their technical skills now in place?

                      "Engineering Success will take more than competence in math, equations, and computors.TM"

    Stay Healthy!
    Cheers,
    Bill

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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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  • 2.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 12-18-2020 03:44 PM

    "You don't pick up leadership skills sitting at your desk designing highways. The only way is to get out and work for it. And ASCE enables you to do that. "

                -Don A. Sepulveda, P.E., M.ASCE  Executive

    • A Great Source "To Enable Yourself!"

    ASCE – Engineering Management Journal [1]

    "A Quantitative Analysis of Knowledge Collaboration Enablers for Practicing Engineers,"

    Silky S. K. Wong, Jennifer A. Cross & Cherise M. Burton

    Published online: 30 Jun 2020                        

      Abstract

    Transferring knowledge from experts to apprentices is critical for sustaining a company's competitive advantage. Further, existing literature indicates that employees in the Millennial (Y) generation and Generation Z prefer collaboration in the work environment. To address such needs, this research study aims to analyze the factors that enable knowledge collaboration among apprentices and experts in the practice of engineering. Survey data collected from 138 apprentices in the practice of engineering revealed that apprentices are more likely to collaborate with experts within their companies when they can trust the experts and perceive support for collaboration from senior management. This research adds to the body of knowledge by explicitly addressing apprentices' trust, senior management support, intrinsic motivation, and knowledge collaboration with experts. Engineering managers can use this article to utilize trust, support from senior management, and employee's intrinsic motivation to increase knowledge collaboration success among engineering experts and apprentices.

    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,

    Bill

    [1] https://ascelibrary.org/journal/jmenea



    ------------------------------
    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
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 01-07-2021 03:33 PM
    As I grow older and gain a better understanding of the world, it strikes me that our profession would benefit from a strong foundation in the liberal arts. Understanding literature, culture, art, the humanities, and language help us to relate to the human beings the engineering profession is here to serve. A lack of this understanding -- this empathy -- leads us to do things like create cities for cars instead of people and to put efficiency before safety. Thus, I would advocate for engineering students to receive an undergraduate degree in liberal arts, then pursue additional studies in engineering before practising within our profession.

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    Joel Dixon P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Manager
    Oklahoma City OK
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  • 4.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 01-11-2021 01:22 PM
    Mr. Dixon,
    The expense of a college education is rising yearly. The expense of acquiring a liberal arts degree would be an enormous burden on even the most t well financed student. I earned my civil engineering degree from 1963 to 68 at Toledo University (now the University of Toledo). The requirements for the degree  was 144 semester hours compared to 120 for the non engineering student. It included 6 semester hours of English composition and 18 semester hours of humanistic-social electives for a total of 24 semester hours of liberal arts education. An engineering student would have had to take 18 hours per semester  to graduate in 4 years with summers off to work. Today, most engineering colleges have reduced the required hours to the high 120s to mid 130s by reducing the required non engineering or liberal arts hours to remain competitive with other engineering schools which offer the same degree for less hours and less tuition costs. I don't have to tell you that most civil engineers need to obtain their PE license in order to advance in their careers. The 4 years of preparing for the exam could also supplemented with reading and self improvement studies to help in a professional's development at much reduced expense than earning a liberal arts degree.
    Birdel F. Jackson, III, P.E., F. ASCE

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    Birdel Jackson P.E., F.ASCE
    Principal
    Alpharetta GA
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  • 5.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 01-12-2021 12:30 PM

    Hi Birdel, thanks for clearly sharing your opinion(s).

    For clarity, I will share mine, tied to a few of yours.

    • 1 of 3: "The expense of a college education is rising yearly."

    Given the business aspects of engineering in a firm, profits are the necessary 'fuel' to maintain and grow their people and business.

    One can generalize the sources of project problems into four categories: People, Process, Technology, and Leadership.

    Group surveys of engineers agree that no less than 70% of what causes project losses has NOTHING to do with "Technology."

    "Engineering Success Requires more than excellence with math, equations, and computers. TM"

    • 2 of 3: "By reducing the required non-engineering or liberal arts hours to remain competitive with other engineering schools which offer the same degree for fewer hours and less tuition costs."

    We have learned that doing this over the years has resulted in two major results in practice:

    1. Engineers are and continue to be experts in technology.
    2. The personal and business outcomes for the above result are project timelines, budgets and first-time quality of results are well below

    the stated project requirements. Un-compensated overtime is now a requirement. Many of our people prefer weekends as "At least the phones won't ring, and emails decrease."

    • 3 of 3: "supplemented with reading and self-improvement studies to help in a professional's development at much-reduced expense than earning a liberal arts degree."

    Would you consider the above opinion also applicable to soil mechanics, structural design, and hydrology? Most would argue "Of course not!"

    Yet less than 15 to 30% of engineers think technology is a major root cause of their project problems.

    Many agree that cooperation, collaboration, and communication skill sets are the foundation of change that makes lasting improvements.

    But some 70% or more of engineers are introverts (This is NOT a bad thing) and almost that many are men.

    In my career to date, I have learned that far more women than men come to the project start-up meetings with skills and a positive level of comfort with the "Three Cs."

    Finally, while more would prefer to skip this next fact, what constrains change that matters at the time it is first identified is F E A R.

    More about that as you wish, later.

    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,

    Bill

     

     



    ------------------------------
    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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  • 6.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 01-11-2021 01:51 PM
    You nailed it!.
    Its high time that engineers start valuing "people" skills as equally important as "technical" skills. Communication is the key in every industry, and we have to communicate with so many different stakeholders on every project. Managing a team is all about communication, understanding different sensibilities and respecting differing opinions. I know how important these skills are cause i have myself faced challenges because of not being able to communicate effectively early on my career.  How to give the correct feedback without demoralizing, how to uplift the employee morals  are skills which will definitely make our workplaces a much more comfortable environment.

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    Mandeep Singh Kohli CP, M.ASCE
    Senior Engineer
    India
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  • 7.  RE: What are Civil Engineers and Engineering Educators doing to improve the level of civil engineering university education to meet the needs of the practicing 21st Century Civil Engineer beyond their traditional technical topics?

    Posted 01-13-2021 05:05 PM

                to "Cross-Pollinate."

    "IDENTIFIED GAPS IN THE FORMAL EDUCATION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS - UPDATE (?)"

    Documents some 37 responses, with some from the same person.


    Stay Healthy!

    Cheers,
    Bill



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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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