To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org, seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2
From: Neil Moore <nmoore(--nospam--at)innercite.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 07:08:45 -0700
I'd take number 1 and I would look very carefully at his undergraduate
curriculum - there are schools that do provide almost FOUR years of
structural engineer related courses. I would also review who he has worked
for and what type of projects he was able to work on. My office was never
really able to afford "apprentice" engineers from the big colleges who gave
the students "a bag of tools". For many years this was the attitude of at
least many of the San Francisco bay area firms.
A previous comment was that there wasn't enough time to learn how to do
connections. My school taught this and we even had to learn how to detail
them. The school also taught specifications, codes, estimating, and even
overview type courses in heating and ventilation and plumbing; items that
have to interface with real world structural arrangement problems. The
school even taught timber design!
If I remember correctly, we even had to take an ethics course. I remember
our dean saying that our school wasn't really that good; it was just that
the other schools were so bad.
A few years ago I had a PhD working for me. He didn't have his EIT, but he
was planning on taking the California S.E. He had never taken a timber
course. I informed him that there was four hours of testing on this. He
replied that he was never going to take a timber course and would
substitute the bridge design questions instead. He left the firm I was
connected with soon after. I was concerned the day when he tried to
determine the values of a stucco wall for a shear wall in conjunction with
a heavy concrete moment frame building.
Going back to the importance of the engineering curriculum: By our junior
year we had completed steel, concrete, timber and structural analysis. In
the senior year, we took 15 units of structural analysis. One of the best
courses, taken in my freshman year was a course in Building Construction -
a great introduction of the basics of putting a structure together. Forgot
to mention that we also learned how to draw - enough to command good
salaries by the end of our sophomore year. The hand drafting required at
that time really helps one produce good legible calcs! I wonder how many
engineers are still doing hand calculations? Actually, the hand drafting
carried over to being able to produce good, well organized CAD drawings.
A plus was actually building some small exotic structures - I remember that
the first Bucky Fuller geodesic dome on the west coast was built on our
campus as a senior project. I was a lowly freshman that spent one Saturday
with the rest of the class assembling this. We were intriqued with another
project being constructed; a timber-steel Vierendeel truss; timber top
compression chord, a threaded bar for the bottom chord and plywood gussets
for the web. Later, one of our senior projects was a 16 foot square
hyperbolic paraboloid made from 6" x 16 foot strips of plywood.
Monday nights were mandantory attendence at Producer Council seminars for
freshmen. I don't even think that we got any actual credits for this.
But, each Monday evening, someone from the industry showed up and presented
a lecture. People like the American Plywood Association and the AISC. I
even remember a demonstration on plastered walls - the real stuff - mortar,
mesh, mess and all!
And I can remember the all night sessions - i.e. everybody at the lab.
Sometimes, around midnight a couple of profs would appear at the doorway,
taking mental roll call. We can remember the weekends tolling over our
structural problem for the week - all had to be hand drafted and turned in
on Monday morning and then a 3 hour structural quiz.
Did your school do these kind of things? Maybe it's time to review the
undergraduate curricum and see if the students are getting the proper basic
tools. The curriculum that we had to take was for four years; many took
five years or went to the summer school sessions.
Enough of my rambling - I'm starting a vacation today and maybe I'll be a
little more mellow when I come back. One of my pet peeves is how, with all
of these bright people out there, they have not been getting the basic
tools required in the real world.
Neil Moore, S.E.
By the way, I believe that everyone in my graduating class is a California
S.E. and most have had their own firms.
At 06:48 AM 06/20/2000 -0600, Jake Watson wrote:
> I have posed this question to a number of people in the past, and I
>always get different answers. Lets say you are hiring an engineer and
>you have three candidates:
>1. B.S. Degree with 4 years office experience and a P.E., maybe an S.E.
>2. M.S. Degree with 2 years office experience, maybe an P.E.
>3. Ph.D. No office experience
>Which one do you hire? - I would put salaries on them if I thought I
>would be even close, but I have no idea about CA salaries.
>Jake Watson, E.I.T.
>Salt Lake City, UT