Published in 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings, June 26, 2016.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.18260/p.26498.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published the second edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK2) in 2008 expanding the knowledge, skills and attitudes required of future civil engineers. There were major changes to the BOK2 as the number of expected outcomes increased from 15 to 24 and the cognitive level of attainment was more precisely defined. A major implementation and enforcement mechanism for the BOK is the ABET accreditation criteria which includes both general criteria 3 and 5 and the discipline-specific program criteria. Of those, the program criteria are the easiest to change.
In 2013, ASCE created the Civil Engineering Program Criteria Task Committee (CEPCTC) whose charge was to determine if the current CEPC should be changed to reflect an additional one or more of the 24 outcomes of BOK2. After two years of meetings, conference calls, draft criteria, constituency input, and associated revisions, a proposed change to the CEPC was approved by ASCE and submitted to ABET for approval. The CEPC was supplemented with an associated commentary. The proposed CEPC are currently going through the two-year ABET approval process and are expected to go into effect in September 2016. The results of the committee’s work were presented in papers at the 2014 and 2015 ASEE Annual Conferences in Indianapolis and Seattle.1,2 The Body of Knowledge is a living document that will continue to be updated and revised. ASCE has developed an eight year cycle of change that will make future iterations of the BOK and CEPC both systematic and predictable.3 As such, a Body of Knowledge Task Committee (BOKTC) is scheduled to be formed in October 2016. The BOKTC could recommend no revisions, minor revisions, or extensive revisions to BOK2. If substantive changes are recommended to BOK2, the master plan calls for the completion of the third edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century (BOK3) before October 2018.
Because the CEPC was created to be compatible with the BOK2 outcomes, the CEPCTC studied the BOK2 in depth. The BOK2 is an aspirational and visionary document which only partially accounts for the real-world constraints faced by engineering programs in terms of mandated maximum units in an undergraduate program and additional requirements imposed by a state government or a university. Conversely, the ABET accreditation criteria (general plus program) define the minimum requirements for a program to receive accreditation. There will naturally be a gap between those two standards.
For the cycle of change to be successful, the insights and lessons learned from the development of the CEPC should be communicated with the BOKTC and vice versa. This paper attempts to do that. The paper will define the gap between (1) the BOK2 and (2) EAC/ABET accreditation criteria (general plus proposed CEPC) and make recommendations for closing the gap. During their work, the CEPCTC encountered issues with the BOK2 that suggest potential revisions for the BOK3. This paper is a mechanism for sharing CEPCTC insights, lessons learned, suggestions and recommendations with the rest of the academic and professional community.
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