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RE: Structural Drafting course (was RE: Connections)

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Scott:

As you have not checked Cal Poly's curriculum, your premise would probably be correct. But we did have to take the courses that you mentioned, such heating and ventilation, plumbing and I believe electrical, as well as an estimating course. What I didn't mention as would be apparent in reviewing the curriculum is that the student starts his engineering and architecture work at the low freshman level. This is different from the traditional engineering college where there's two years of general undergrad stuff and then two years of the main major. (And then going to grad school to get the stuff I believe he/she should have gotten in undergrad work, such as timber courses!)

We also took a course called building construction, (text of the same name by Huntington). And in our architectural drafting course (three quarters of the freshman year), my Architectural Graphic Standards cost me around $18.00!)

Possibly because we don't have some of the general courses that most colleges require, our social graces are probably suspect. We also were required to take history of architecture, perspective, architectural presentation as well as at least one or two quarters of surveying. Most of us because proficient in building structural models. We also took some two unit courses so that the students could get by the EIT exam. General civil engineering fundamentals I didn't have and I did have problems passing the EIT. The civil test wasn't too hard and the 16 hour S.E. test was the easiest for me, but part of that is because I picked good solid structural engineering company's to work for and was fortunate to have some very good mentors. At that time, I was working in San Francisco and the SEAONC puts on very good seminars and Cal Berkeley, (at that time) was providing very good structural engineering extension courses (in San Francisco).

One course that I should mention was the ethics course (at that time presented by George Hasslein). My days at Poly are not all that happy. There were many all-night sessions as the school labs were and probably still are, open 24 hours. I can remember a few times professors dropping by at midnight, coming from some other function, standing in the doorway and taking mental role.

Actually I don't think that we should try to outdo each other on who has the best anything; what I feel is that this system should be used in other schools. Cal Poly's capacity to produce ARCE graduates is limited. I believe for a number of years, the output has been under thirty per year. I heard that they are trying to increase this number.

Neil Moore, S.E.


At 11:20 PM 12/2/2003 -0500, Scott Maxwell wrote:
Neil,

I will take a look at the curriculum sometime, but based upon what you
included as the desciption of the program (again without me looking closer
myself) it would appear to me that calling the program an architectural
engineering program is misleading.  From the description you provided, I
would more accurately call it a structural engineering program.  If it
truly was an architectural engineering program than there would be more
exposure to other building systems such as mechanical or electical and a
graduate would be a "general practioner" of architectural engineering with
a little more emphasis in one area such as structural, mechanical, or
electrical.  Instead, based upon that description, it seems that the
program really focuses on structural issues at the potential expense of
some "general" knowledge of mechanical or electrical systems (again this
is all just based upon the description you provided without me looking at
courses required, etc).  I have looked at PSU's course requirements and
their program is more in tune with what I would call an architectural
engineering program.  They require some minimum basic courses in
architectural systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, and
structural systems that everyone takes and then one adds some more
detailed courses in the area that they want to specialize in.  This is
more in tune with how civil engineering programs work, except in a civil
program everyone takes some minimum basic courses in structural, geotech,
materials, hydraulics/hydroloy, environmental, etc and then adds a few
more detailed courses in their "specialty".

So, I would argue that my assumptions were correct, but rather the folks
at Cal Poly misnamed their program! <grin>  To be more serious, this is
probably somewhat true as there is no ABET accreditation for a true
undergrad structural engineering degree, but Cal Poly really wanted to
have a undergrad structural engineering degree...they just made it "fit"
under the ABET accreditation for architectural engineering programs, which
they could not likely do under ABET accreditation for civil engineering.

FWIW, it sounds like it is a good program from your and Paul's comments.
I would still put my education up against it (although the Cal Poly way
would likely be more "effecient" than my BSE, MSE and classwork towards a
PhD).  But, then being a "professional student", I have managed to take 3
concrete courses, 3 steel courses, 1 wood course, 2 structural analysis
courses, 1 structural dynamics course, 1 design for dynamic forces course
(earthqauke/wind), 1 structural reliability course, 1 bridge course, 1
fiber/ferrocement course, 2 prestressed courses, 1 general structural
design course (a little steel, little concrete, little wood), 1
foundations course, 1 slope stability course (i.e. lateral earth pressures
and retension systems like retaining walls), plus the more "general"
coursework.  But, then I am a geek that likes to learn! <grin>

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Tue, 2 Dec 2003, Neil Moore wrote:

> Scott:
>
> I suggest that you review the curriculum at Cal Poly before you make
> assumptions.  You can check it out at                .
>
>  From the Cal Poly web page:
>
>
> "The architectural engineering (ARCE) curriculum, one of the most demanding
> in the University, prepares the student for a professional career in the
> structural design of buildings. This program is unique in that it goes
> beyond sound fundamentals of science and mathematics to stress the
> practical application of interdisciplinary design principles. Through
> exposure to the other design and construction disciplines, ARCE students
> develop much-needed abilities for total professional interaction. The
> program requires skills and aptitudes in mathematics, sciences and
> deductive thinking. This program affords the student the opportunity to use
> these rudimentary skills as a basis for the interactive, creative
> development of a total design concept.
>
> The curriculum is strongly structured and rigorous. It includes sequences in:
>    :: graphics and computer-aided drafting;
> :: architectural design, history and practice;
> :: soil mechanics and laboratory;
> :: structural mechanics and systems;
> :: computer practice in structural engineering;
> :: design fundamentals of structural materials; and
> :: structural design laboratories.
>
> Design laboratories are presented in a studio format that emphasizes learn
> by doing. Theoretical learning is supported by both the intellectual
> freedom of experimental projects and the discipline of hands-on design
> problems.
> The four-year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering degree
> program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and
> Technology (ABET). Graduates normally become registered as structural
> engineers. ARCE graduates are among the most sought after in the country
> with a high record of successful, gainful employment as well as advanced
> studies."
>
> When I was at Cal Poly, we started architecture and engineering in our
> first quarter.  The first year, we had 9 units of architectural drafting
> and the second year, we had taken 9 units of structural drafting.  At this
> point, we could get a drafting job in a structural engineering firm.  (At
> one point in my pre-graduation wanderings, I was detailing steel for the
> Klevins corporation in Yonkers as well as laying out steel in the main yard).
>
> At the end of my third year I had taken timber, concrete and steel and in
> the 4th year, 15 units of advanced structural design, which would usually
> be taught at master's level.  By the way, we also got bridge design along
> the way as well as foundation and soil mechanics.
>
> I ended up doing two senior projects, the first a 16 foot hyperbolic
> paraboloid  out of plywood - constructed and tested to failure and then a
> simple span concrete bridge.  (Not constructed!!!!).  If you ever have a
> chance, visit our "canyon" where all kinds of constructed student
> structural projects have been preserved.  Here you will find the first
> geodesic dome on the west coast, (assembled by the freshman class in
> 1951).   Bucky Fuller visited our campus a number of times.  Other little
> neat projects were things like timber-steel combined Vierendeel
> trusses.   We were big in ferro cement at one time, studying Nervi.  Other
> structural celebrities we studied were Toroja (?), Candela and Corbu.  In
> 1959, a group of our students took first prize in the US Steel
> international bridge competition.  In 1960, I received a fourth place
> nationally in a Lincoln Welding design competition; first place was by
> another Cal Poly student.
>
> Just an added note, I believe that all of my graduating class are
> California registered structural engineers.
>
> Bottom line, there are some firms who will only hired Cal Poly ARCE
> graduates, (if they can find them!).
>
>
> Neil Moore, S.E.
> class of 1960, Cal Poly
>
>
>
> At 08:10 AM 12/2/2003 -0500, Scott Maxwell wrote:
> >Mark,
> >
> >While I am not familiar with Cal Poly/SLO's program, I would assume that
> >it is like any other architectural engineering undergrad program.  If so,
> >then in reality, the degree is STILL a "general" architectural engineering
> >program with a "specialty" in structural (as opposed to a specialty in
> >electrical or mechanical).  While certainly different (and in many ways
> >better) than a general civil engineering program, it will still have the
> >same basic premise...you will graduate with a general knowledge of the
> >field (architectural engineering) with some minimal specialization (i.e.
> >in structural).  In otherwords, you will take a lot of "general"
> >architectural engineering courses (some basic mechanical, electrical, and
> >even architectural in addition to basic structural courses) with just a
> >few courses really directed toward your "specialty".
> >
> >The end result is that I can certainly see that such a program would be
> >much better in MANY regards for a budding structural type who wants to go
> >into buildings.  OTOH, it would like be a waste on a budding structural
> >type that wants to go into bridges.
> >
> >Basically, I should have been clearer when a mentioned a structural
> >degree.  I meant a Bacholar of Science in STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING or a
> >Bacholar of Science in Engineering (STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING) that is
> >ABET accreditted (a beast that does not exist).  I would assume that the
> >Cal Poly/SLO degree would be a Bacholar of Science in ARCHITECTURAL
> >ENGINEER or a Bacholar of Science in Engineering (ARCHITECTURAL
> >ENGINEERING) which in some regards is very similar to the Bacholar of
> >Science in Engineering (Civil Engineering) that I received in Michigan and
> >most other schools.  The function difference is that my general courses
> >were in civil engineering while someone from a architectural engineering
> >program would have "general" course work in architectural engineering (so
> >of which would be structural as in the civil program).  Neither of which
> >would have near as many structural courses as a true undergrad structural
> >program.
> >
> >FWIW, I doubt that anyone who went through a undergrad AE program took
> >anymore structural courses than I did.  Of course, it helps that I am a
> >geek that could have graduated in 3.5 years but instead took extra
> >structural courses.  A "normal" student is civil program likely has a few
> >less structural courses than a architectural eng program student (but not
> >that many fewer).  Where the AE student will really gain a benefit is a
> >better understanding of overall building systems and likely get more
> >"practical" type course work (at least that is the impression that I got
> >from reviewing PSU's AE program).
> >
> >Regards,
> >
> >Scott
> >Ypsilanti, MI
> >
> >On Tue, 2 Dec 2003, Mark Gilligan wrote:
> >
> > > It was stated : "One partial solution (for structural engineering at least)
> > > is to have an undergrad ABET accreditted structural degree, but frankly
> > > that is not too likely."
> > >
> > > Please note that the Architectural Engineering Program at Cal Poly/ SLO is > > > an undergraduate structural engineering program and has ABET accreditation.
> > >
> > >
> > > Mark Gilligan
> > >
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