Published in ASEE Proceedings 2009 Annual Convention, January 1, 2009.
Copyright © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education.
In the United States of America, the body of knowledge required for an individual to be allowed to take the engineering licensing examination, which on passing allows the individual to be in responsible charge of engineering projects, is usually defined by laws and regulations of each state. In California, the shortest path taken by most individuals is one where the individual graduates from an ABET accredited undergraduate program; passes the Engineer in Training (EIT) examination and works under the supervision of a licensed engineer for two years (one year if the individual has a Masters degree in relevant field).
In order to better prepare the student to enter the practice of engineering, and thus give the student an immediate level of comfort with the real world environment, practical design needs to be directly incorporated into the teaching of design.
This paper presents teaching methods used to teach undergraduate architectural engineering design courses, where the discipline of concentration is structural engineering. The format used exposes the students to instructors that are current consulting engineers and to courses that are modeled in line with the structural engineering profession. The theory, of construction materials (concrete, steel, masonry and timber) is covered for each material at element level in a lecture format. Design using the materials at a system level (building) is then taught in a laboratory format. In this later format, the students prepare complete construction documents (structural calculations, structural plans and structural specifications) for real projects using architectural plans. This “learn by doing” format has proven-over time-to prepare the students to the same environment that the students face after graduation.
It is generally an accepted fact in the structural profession in California that, graduates from Architectural Engineering program (ARCE) at California Polytechnic State University (CAL POLY) “hit the ground running from day one”. This is attributed to the familiarity, of the design office environment, obtained during their undergraduate education. The familiarity is acquired through the design laboratories taught by design professionals.