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Re: BS Degrees (emphasis on BS)

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Andrew:

It is not as easy at it would seem to "just add" a BS in Arch Eng to
existing Civil Eng programs with existing staff and classes.  At a minimum
many universities that have Mech Eng programs don't really focus on
building mechical systems (i.e. HVAC/plumbing classes), so these would be
new classes that would either have to be taught by new faculty or be
taught by existing faculty at the expense of existing classes.

Plus, I am sure that even strucutral courses taught in Arch Eng programs
might have slightly different slants than such courses taught in Civil
Eng programs...for example, they may be taught from a more practical point
of view rather than just focusing on the pure technical theory.  This
could result in topics that might be covered in 2 courses in a Civil Eng
program being covered in 3 courses in a Arch Eng program (which also
happens just between different CE programs from university to
university)...which means an additional course.

And the idea of just taking say a course that is already taught in the
architectural department and having arch eng students take it to fulfill
some "architectural" specialty class area may not always work as nicely as
one thinks.  The content of such a course for a architectural student (who
you want to fully understand and be able to implement the concepts/thoery)
will tend to be different than for a architectural engineering student
(who you want to have a basic understanding so as to "speak the language"
but not necessarily do the implementation).  I _KNOW_ such differences
exist now in the other direction.  Many architectural programs require
some minimum level of structural courses, but the expectations for those
future architects is no where near those who want to go into structural
engineering.  Thus, structures courses taught in architectural schools
tend to be taught at a MUCH slower pace meaning they cover much less
material.  I would assume that it likely that architectural courses used
in a typical architectural engineering program might move at a similar
slower pace.  Thus, you are again forced into a position of adding some
courses that are not currently added.

Now, does any of this mean that I think it is bad idea?  No way.  Based
upon what I knew of PSU's AE program and what Paul/Neil have mentioned
about Cal Poly's program, I have no doubt that either program would have
been a MUCH better fit for me (with the Cal Poly sounding really good).
Both programs definitely require more structural courses, but I got that
anyway (if in a less efficient manner)...so my path got me comparable if
not better structural technical knowledge and skills.  But, without a
doubt where I would have been ahead with either AE program is both
practical structural knowledge (drafting, reading/interpreting drawings,
and maybe practical "fit up" issues) and practical knowledge on
interfacing/working with other building systems/disciplines (i.e. HVAC,
plumbling, electrical wiring, lighting, cladding, and other ME/EE/Arch
systems).

But, the notion that it should be easy to "just add" an AE program seems a
little naive.  I know that a major university with a "preminent" CEE
program like Michigan still struggles to add _ONE_ additional course due
to budget constraints, let along many that would be needed for adding such
a program (I would LOVE to see Michigan add a masonry and/or timber
course, but even adding such a course that would be taught by an adjuct
lecturer is a difficult proposition).

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Wed, 3 Dec 2003, Andrew Kester wrote:

> Sounds like I should have went to Cal Poly or PSU, and that is not the first time I have said that on this list. And it sure is not because I like Joe Paterno more then Bobby Bowden. It is because they offer realistic, applicable programs, that seem to cut to the chase rather then this practice of general education.
>
> Not to beat a dead horse, but I feel this is a reoccuring, important topic on this list. We all had good and bad experiences in our different colleges, from all over the country and the globe. One thing that seems to be in common with all of us is that we feel we did not have enough concentration on our particular subject, to much BS in our BS. Some may say that this is good if you don't know what you want to do. I agree, but why punish those of us who KNOW what we want by making us meet general requirements?
>
>  I don't think we need to abandon the general BS in Civil (for the people who are unsure what they want to do), but also offer a BS in Structural/Arch. Most universities could do this with existing staff, just a bit of rearranging and proper curriculum design. And if your university happens to have an architectural, mechanical, or electrical program, then possibly some courses in those disciplines as they relate to buildings and structures would be beneficial.
>
> I know with many of us living in a heightened state of xenaophobia due to terrorism, and some of us angry at Europe for turning our back on us, now may not be the best time to mention this. But we can learn a lot from our friends in other countries (this IS how this country was built and made great). I have talked to lots of people from all over the world, and I think the US is the only one clinging to this liberal arts educational system. A former coworker from Scotland went to a Building Engineering program that started general then separated the mechanical , electrical, structural, etc. disciplines. No liberal arts classes, no Hydraulics or Dynamics, all building related classes. My father in law got his BS in Spain in Architecture, which actually includes all phases of building design, including structural.  Many foreign doctors go to school for 5 years (no undergrad).
>
> Again, you can accomplish a lot in 4-5 years without all the "filler" classes. I guess the theory is the other subjects, the liberal arts, are studied in high school. Becoming a well rounded person does not start or end in the classroom. I went to school to get the skills and knowledge I needed to get a good job, the same reason most of us went. My sister just finished her degree in Optometry. 4 years of undergrad and 4 more of Optometry school. She now has student loans bigger then my mortgage. Could she have went straight to Optometry school, perhaps with a semester maybe of pre-req classes? YEP. (Other countries sure do). I always joke with her, and my brother in law who does the same, that they spent 8 years learning about the EYE, just one body part!? How can that be so complicated? (Evidently it IS.)
>
> So why don't we get the focus back on job skills and professional training, rather then seeing how many credits can we graduate with, and how many different subjects we have to study, and how much debt we can pile up doing that??
>
> Just some thoughts......
>
>
> Andrew Kester
>
>
>
>
>




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