ABET Program Criteria: Review and Assessment for a Civil Engineering Program
Koehn, Enno, Journal of Engineering Education
Recently, the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) sponsored programs to recommend changes for the engineering curriculum. In addition, various other studies, such as that conducted by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), investigated methods to strengthen undergraduate education.
The present investigation is based on a study of Lamar University civil engineering undergraduate and graduate students as well as practicing alumni. The findings suggest that all three groups, practicing engineers as well as undergraduate and graduate students, perceive that some subject areas are more important than others. For example, greater than 400/o of each group identified four subject areas that presently receive or should receive a high level of coverage in the civil engineering curriculum. They include: mathematics through calculus and differential equations; structural and geotechnical engineering; and major design experience or course. In addition, more than 400/6 of the undergraduates and practicing engineers also perceive that hydraulics/hydrology/water resources presently receive or should receive a high level of coverage. In contrast, graduate students and practitioners also believe that construction management/surveying, and structural/materials and hydraulics laboratories receive or should receive a high level of coverage. These results suggest strong support for the traditional technical aspect of engineering. In addition, they may be interpreted as positive reinforcement for the Engineering Criteria 2000 program requirements. Nevertheless, all three groups rate professional practice issues at a relatively lower percentage. The foregoing are among the various subjects that have been included in the Civil and Similarly Named Engineering Program Criteria that have been adopted by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as criteria that must be considered in order to satisfy the requirements of an accredited civil engineering degree.
Over the years there have been studies conducted by employers and various technical/professional organizations to revise the engineering curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for the future engineering workplace.1-4 Practicing engineers and educators have also indicated that they are not completely satisfied with the average engineering program.5-8 This paper presents the results of an investigation of the perceptions of undergraduate and graduate students as well as practicing engineers concerning civil engineering education and accreditation.
The data for the study were obtained from a survey instrument that was distributed to students enrolled in various Civil Engineering degree programs at Lamar University as well as practitioners involved with an alumni meeting. Respondents were requested to indicate and rate the particular level--high = 4.0, average = 3.0, low = 2.0, unsure/none = 1.0--at which various subject areas presently are being covered in addition to the level at which they should be covered in the curriculum. The subjects chosen are tabulated in the Civil Engineering Program Criteria which is included in the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) report, Engineering Criteria 2000, which future students of accredited programs will be required to satisfy.9,10
II. ENGINEERING ACCREDITATION
Recently, there have been recommendations from educators and technical/professional societies to revise the engineering curriculum that is being required in accredited institutions.11-15 In response to these recommendations, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has revised the criteria for accrediting engineering programs.16-18 The new approach shifts emphasis away from "what is being taught" to "what is being learned" and is less proscriptive of required …
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Publication information: Article title: ABET Program Criteria: Review and Assessment for a Civil Engineering Program. Contributors: Koehn, Enno - Author. Journal title: Journal of Engineering Education. Volume: 90. Issue: 3 Publication date: July 2001. Page number: 445+. © AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR ENGINEERING EDUCATION Oct 2008. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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