Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

Re: Recommended Reading, Part 2 of 2

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
No, I didn't get that kind of education, nor was it offered.

Where did you go to school, Neil?  Do they still teach to that level?

Keith Fix
Cromwell Architects Engineers
B.S. Northwestern University

--- Neil Moore <nmoore(--nospam--at)> wrote:
> Jake:
> 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.

Do You Yahoo!?
Send instant messages with Yahoo! Messenger.