Orange County Branch Newsletter

February 2013

Secretary's Column

ASCE National Programs and Initiatives

By Cindy Miller, PE



On January 25th and 26th, I participated in the Regions 8 and 9 Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders, which was held this year in Sacramento, California. The event presented a great opportunity for me to become familiar with National ASCE’s advocacy campaigns, meet our Region 9 Board of Governors, network with many of the Region 8 and 9 Section and Branch leaders, as well as spend some fun time with YMF members.  The event was actually a joint ASCE event with the ASCE Western Regional Younger Member Council, who also held their workshop at the same venue over the same weekend.  With all these events going on simultaneously, I must say the ASCE organizers did a fantastic job with the program!  They kept us all on our toes, and the YMF and Branch leaders had ample opportunity to jointly participate in a number of informative and fun-filled activities.  I’m sure staff felt as if their hotel had been invaded by civil engineers coming at them from all directions, as all of the Section and Branch leaders got some good exercise walking from one side of the hotel to the other and then back again to participate in multiple round-table discussions on such topics as National ASCE’s 2013 Report Card, High School Outreach with the Civil Engineering Club, among others.

OC Branch YMF Leaders

Open mic Q&A with ASCE President (Greg DiLoreto), 2013 President-Elect (Randy Over), and Executive Director (Patrick Natale)

It was all great fun and by the end of the event I walked away with a greater appreciation for what ASCE is doing for us and our profession.  I wanted to share with you the many initiatives and campaigns that National is spearheading that I was either unaware of, or had only a vague understanding of, prior to attending this event. Many of these campaigns affect you and me, but if you’re like me, the volume of information coming from ASCE National can be overwhelming or at the very least a little difficult to find on the ASCE website.  So I thought I would highlight three National ASCE campaigns that I learned about at this Workshop and let you know how to find out more information if they happen to interest you:

  1. Raise the Bar: Raise the Bar is an ASCE-backed initiative for adopting and implementing higher academic requirements for future professional engineers. At the beginning of the 1900’s, a four-year baccalaureate degree was required to enter the engineering profession – more than most other learned professions.  Learned professionals such as medicine, law, pharmacy, architecture, and accounting recognized the exploding body of knowledge in our society and responded to these changes by expanding their formal education requirements beyond the bachelor’s degree.  The engineering profession’s requirements have remained unchanged, despite the ever-expanding technical and professional knowledge and skills and the fact that engineering services and engineered products affect the public health, safety, and welfare in all its aspects.  The figure below illustrates the education requirements for the learned professionals, and how these education requirements have changed over the past century.

The complex challenges facing 21st – century society will require professional engineers (PEs) to advance their technical excellence and professional leadership.The engineering education of the present – a four-year undergraduate degree - will not be sufficient to prepare the licensed professional engineers of the future. The credits required to earn the traditional four-year undergraduate degree have decreased dramatically over the past decades.Coupled with the expanding body of engineering knowledge, that trend is no longer sustainable.

ASCE supports the attainment of a Body of Knowledge (BOK) for entry into the practice of civil engineering at the professional level. This would be accomplished through the adoption of appropriate engineering education and experience requirements as a prerequisite for licensure. Fulfillment of this Body of Knowledge will typically include a combination of:

- a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering

- a master's degree, or approximately 30 coordinated graduate or upper level undergraduate technical and/or professional practice credits or the equivalent agency/organization/professional society courses providing equal academic quality and rigor, and

- appropriate experience based upon broad technical and professional practice guidelines which provide sufficient flexibility for a wide range of roles in engineering practice.” (Professional Policy 465)

To learn more about the Raise the Bar initiative, go to http://www.raisethebarforengineering.org/why-raise-bar

  1. eCareer Mentor Program:  Fostering the practice of mentorship within civil engineering has always been a hallmark of our profession. Given the critical role we play in sustaining and enhancing the high quality of life for our society, it is imperative our professional community continue to take deliberate steps to provide guidance to our students and young professionals for the role they will one day assume from us. One of the most direct and effective means we have to accomplish this is through mentoring. And in this day and age of computers, iPads, and Smartphones, the mentorship/protégé relationship need not be geographically limiting.  In fact, ASCE has a program called the eCareerMentor Program, which allows mentors and protégés to connect with one another through the ASCE website.  If you’re interested in participating, simply go to http://careers.asce.org/eMentor/ to learn more about the program and register to become a mentor or to find a mentor. 
  1. Key Contact Program:  Are you a key contact? Well, I’m sure in the generic sense each of us are a key contact to someone in one way or another.  But specific to the ASCE Key Contact Program, you may not be….yet!  ASCE’s Key Contact Program provides the means for civil engineers to have a voice in influencing the state and national policy process. By meeting and making contacts with your elected officials in several ways, you can achieve true conversations about issues important to the profession with your elected officials and/or staff. This eventually leads to becoming a trusted advisor to your elected leader when bills are drafted or considered. If you’re interested in helping ASCE (at the Federal, State, and local Branch level) make its mark on legislation considered and passed in Congress and state legislatures then you need to become an ASCE Key Contact.  Just go to http://www.asce.org/keycontacts/ and click on the “Become a Key Contact” link.  There you will fill out a brief form and provide your ASCE membership ID number and e-mail contact information.

I encourage you to become involved in one of these programs, or any ASCE program, you feel passionate about. Our active participation in professional societies, such as ASCE, plays an important role in managing change and supporting fellow engineers by providing opportunities for ongoing professional development and support, as well as establishing a common platform to advocate for legislative and regulatory initiatives. Together, rather than as individuals, we are a much more effective voice in shaping the future of our profession.

 

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