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Engineering Education & Professional Pra

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The University of Arizona Civil Engineering Department apparently conducted a 
survey several years ago both among its faculty and among practicing 
professionals.  The results from the two groups, if not diametrically 
opposite, showed a huge difference in what each group felt was important.  
You probably can get some specific information from the head of the 
department, Dr. Juan Valdes (jvaldes(--nospam--at)

It is my opinion that the practicing professional's job is not to train 
recent graduates in basic engineering design and that a new graduate should 
be familiar with design codes for concrete, steel, wood, and masonry, whether 
or not the design codes are in a model code or separate.

When I last taught, it was a class in advanced reinforced concrete design.  I 
gave them an assignment to design some concrete beams to get an indication of 
their background and knowledge.  I was appalled that they could not design a 
concrete beam without iterating from now until doomsday and had never seen 
ACI 318 or another code.

If we think of universities as industries that are supposed to provide a 
marketable product (students) and if the universities cannot produce a 
product that can minimally do design, then the university is not doing its 
job properly.

In a word, yes, I think that practitioners should have a say in the means 
and methods used to educate students.  If the practitioner is going to have to 
re-educate graduates, why not hire someone without a college education so 
that we will not have to be faced with the "unlearning" of taught material.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Barry Welliver wrote:

. > This forum is perhaps slanted toward the latter, however we all have
. > experienced the former.

. > Is it appropriate for practitioners to have any serious influence on the
. > "means and methods" established by schools to educate students?

. > My impression is that schools tend to feel comfortable off-loading design
. > tasks to employers, which is fine to a point, but can become an impediment
. > if taken to an extreme. I realize this discussion may evolve into a pros 
. > and cons of specific schools, but what I'm really interested in is 
. > whether or not professionals feel they have any specific way to address 
. > this issue to schools.

. > Thanks for your thoughts

. > Barry H. Welliver

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