The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been a leader in “raising the bar” for the education of civil engineers. In 2001, ASCE established the Task Committee on Academic Prerequisites for Professional Practice. During a decade of work on raising the requirements for a professional engineer, this committee accomplished a lot, and in 2008 it published the Body Of Knowledge Second edition (BOK-2). This establishes the education requirement of a master’s degree in engineering, or equivalent, to qualify to be a licensed professional engineer. The BOK-2 addresses the necessary non-technical topics, but it lacked emphasis or depth of knowledge in the non-technical, professional areas of the education phase; which is necessary to prepare the graduate engineer to function as a master builder and meet the requirements for ASCE’s Vision 2025. The 5th year of the BOK-2 is dedicated to technical knowledge topics; making it similar to a current advanced technical engineering degree.
Many engineers believe the “raise the bar” effort for engineering education should include significantly more professional preparation especially in leadership, management, business, communication and public policy. During the preparation of the ASCE BOK reports, some of the committee members with industry backgrounds tried to get more professionalism into the 5th year of the CE curriculum. They proposed that the 5th year should be a professional engineering degree instead of more technical knowledge. However, they were not successful in obtaining this level of professionalism in the BOK reports.
The following are a few comments and suggestions on how the concerns of those who want more professional aspects in the education process can be addressed while still addressing the concerns of those who want the primary emphasis to be on the technical aspects. This debate has been going on for quite some time and it doesn’t appear like a resolution of the differences is forthcoming. [Read more…] about The Importance of the Non-Technical Professional Component of Engineering Education