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RE: Future Generations of Engineers

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Stan,

And again I would argue that someone with a bachelor's degree is not
supposed to be "good" for any full project level upon graduation.  That is
the purpose of the 4 years of "experience"...to get a newly graduated
engineer that has been taught the basic principles (and understands them)
of civil engineering (i.e. stress-strain relationships, Mohr's cirlce,
etc) in their undergraduate education able to get to a level that they can
now practically apply them on a project level.  For someone who gets an
undergraduate degree in civil with a structural concentration, I expect
them to be able to understand basic analysis methods (equations of
equilibrium and so forth) and be able to design simple members (beams,
columns, etc) in steel and concrete.  As a bonus, it would be nice for
them also to be able to design basic members in masonry and maybe wood,
but considering most universities don't offer such courses and most
projects involving structural engineers don't involve wood (unless you are
working in a state such as California where residences get designed by
engineers on a somewhat regular basis).  Beyond that I expect the rest of
"practical" knowledge to be learned on the job in the first 4 years and
beyond.  About the only exception that I might like to see is some sort of
formal education on wind and seismic loading (the theory and how that
theory translates in to the code provisions)...but only because the code
provisions for those loadings have gotten more complicated over the years
(FYI, since I had some extra classes in that area while doing my
bachelor's degree, I came out of school knowing more in that area than
many of the MUCH older engineers that I first worked with in my first two
years who presumably went through school when the CE programs were NOT
"120 credits"...and I did not NEED my master's degree to get to that
point...I can admit that is likely an "isolated" situation).

The end result is that you (and many like you who seem to behind the ASCE
push) and I have much different expectations as to what a recent graduate
of a BSCE is supposed to be capable of doing.  You and those behind the
ASCE push (at least from my perspective) seem to want recent grads to be
at the level that I would expect someone with 4 years of experience who is
getting ready to take the PE to have.

I would say that we just chaulk it up as "to each their own" but the ASCE
push (and others like it) ends up forcing it into my face and others who
think along the same lines as I do.  Thus, I voice my opinion in
opposition, even though the ASCE leadership does not seem to care too much
what the members like myself think.  Ultimately, I may not oppose it so
much if someone who is in favor could come up with a reasonable
explanation as to what the real problem is and why making a masters degree
(or equivalent) if the only/best solution to the problem.  But instead I
hear bogus answers like "current grads aren't really good enough because
of 120 credit programs , but, hey, we will still grandfather them in when
we do reach the point of making these changes in the requirements" or "it
will increase the compenstation" or "we need to be more like other
professionals such as doctors and lawyers in term of required education".

BTW, your arguements would at least have some semblence of rationality
to me if I could relate to 120 credit programs.  But, I have YET to run
across any such program (although I don't doubt that they are out there).
It makes it tough for me to see something to critize when the thing being
critized does not exist in my area.  EVERY single civil engineering
program that I am aware of in the state of Michigan has at LEAST a 128
credit requirement for the BSCE (Michigan 128, Michigan State 128,
Lawrence Tech 131, Wayne State 133, and Michigan Tech 130).

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI

On Mon, 28 Jul 2003, Caldwell, Stan wrote:


>
>Or are you saying that CE undergraduate programs are not even producing
>general CE graduates that even have enough of general CE knowledge?
>
>Enough general CE knowledge to do what?  In an increasingly specialized
>world, what exactly is a general CE graduate with a 120-hour BSCE good
>for other than general land development engineering?
>




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