Winter 2019

ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.

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A P R O F E S S O R ' S P E R S P E C T I V E 28 | ASPIRE Winter 2019 A Winning Combination: PCI Big Beam Competition and ASCE Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge Outcomes by Dr. Jill Walsh, St. Martin's University A bachelor of science degree in civil engineering is the typical educational pathway to a career in bridge engineering. In the latest draft of the third edition of Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) defines the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge as a "set of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for entry into practice of civil engineering at professional level." 1 For the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge, ASCE describes 21 outcomes, grouped in four categories (see Table 1). The typical c ivil engineering program is designed to introduce students to multiple branches of civil engineering. As a result, the typical bridge engineer has taken at least one course in e n v i r o n m e n t a l , t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , structures, geotechnical, hydraulics, and surveying. The foundational and engineering fundamentals categories typically consume the first two years of an undergraduate degree. The breadth of engineering (the technical category) is introduced through upper-level requirements in the second two years. Comprehension of the breadth of civil engineering is of course important, but engineering students are left with little time in their fully packed schedules for exposure to professional and technical topics specific to bridge engineering. Students must take specialty topics, such as prestressed concrete, in their discipline of choice as electives. In smaller academic programs, specialty topics may be offered only every other year, further limiting choices for students. Therefore, students wanting to prepare for a career in bridge engineering are left to seek other pathways for gaining discipline- specific knowledge. T h e C i v i l E n g i n e e r i n g B o d y o f Knowledge outlines pathways to attain civil engineering competence at the professional level. Table 2 shows that students and early-career engineers are expected to supplement formal education with mentored experience and self- development. Industry competitions such as the PCI Big Beam Competition are one way to incorporate both the mentored e x p e r i e n c e a n d s e l f - d e v e l o p m e n t pathways to provide students with professional education in a specialty topic such as prestressed concrete. PCI Big Beam Competition In the PCI Big Beam Competition, student teams work with PCI producer members to design, build, and test a 17-ft-long precast, prestressed concrete beam. The producer member provides materials, construction assistance, a n d g u i d a n c e , a s w e l l a s b e a m transportation to the testing facility. Saint Martin's University has participated in Big Beam for three years with PCI producer member Concrete Technology Corporation (CTC) as their sponsor. Saint Martin's University currently offers a prestressed concrete design course every other academic year. This means that some students haven't even had exposure to prestressed concrete before participating in the competition. CTC design engineer Austin Maue travels to the university campus to give the students a "crash course" in prestressed concrete. He arranges plant tours for the students, provides feedback on their designs, schedules construction days with them, and is on site during their beam construction. Competition participation has been a student-led endeavor, independent of any Table 1. Selected Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge Outcomes Category Outcomes (partial list) 1. Foundational Math, science, humanities 2. Engineering fundamentals Materials, engineering mechanics, experimental, critical thinking 3. Technical Project management, breadth in civil engineering, design, technical depth 4. Professional Communication, teamwork, lifelong learning, professional attitudes and responsibilities Source: Based on Appendix F of the 3rd edition of Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge: Preparing the Future Civil Engineer . Table 2. Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge Typical Pathways for Outcome Achievement Pathway Description Undergraduate education Undergraduate education leading to a bachelor's degree in civil engineering or a closely related engineering discipline, generally from a four-year ABET/EAC- accredited program Postgraduate education Postgraduate education equivalent to or leading to a master's degree in civil engineering or a closely related engineering discipline, generally equivalent to one year of full-time study Mentored experience Early-career experience under the mentorship of a civil engineer practicing at the professional level, which progresses in both complexity and level of responsibility Self-developed Individual self-development through formal or informal activities and personal observation and reflection Note: ABET = Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology; EAC = Engineering Accreditation Commission. Source: Based on the 3rd edition of Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge: Preparing the Future Civil Engineer .

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