Accreditation and Assessment

To ensure our civil engineering students are prepared for future success in their careers, the department follows a formal procedure in the development of curriculum and the assessment of the program. With the help of our constituents, we identify career objectives a civil engineer should be able to meet within a few years after graduation. We periodically survey our alumni and their employers to find out how well these objectives are being met. We also survey and assess students throughout the duration of the BS program to determine if they are acquiring the skills and knowledge they will need to achieve the defined career objectives. The program is outcomes based—based on what our students know and can do, not based on what is covered in class—and devoted to continuous improvement.

Accreditation

The BS degree in Civil Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. With an ABET-accredited BS degree, graduates will have enhanced career opportunities and may eventually apply for registration as a Professional Engineer (PE).

The Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering has developed formal procedures for self-evaluation and continuous improvement designed to sustain a civil engineering education of increasing high quality and meet the accreditation requirements of ABET. Key components of this program include:

  • Definition of the constituents served by the civil engineering program
  • Establishment of program educational objectives with our constituents
  • Establishment of student outcomes, in conjunction with ABET
  • An ongoing program of assessment that measures the degree to which the program educational objectives and student outcomes are being met
  • An ongoing program of evaluation to improve the civil engineering program in response to feedback from the assessment process

Constituents

The constituencies of the civil engineering program include:

  • Current students in the civil engineering program
  • Program alumni
  • Employers of civil engineering interns and graduates
  • Civil Engineering Advisory Panel
  • CSEE Department Advisory Board

Program Educational Objectives

Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe the expected accomplishments of graduates within a few years after graduation. The objectives of the Civil Engineering program are that graduates will:

  • Satisfy the requirements of their employers for professional practice in civil engineering
  • Continue their professional development in civil engineering, including professional licensure, continuing education, and/or graduate study

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. They relate to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program:

  • Outcome a: an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • Outcome b: an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • Outcome c: an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • Outcome d: an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  • Outcome e: an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • Outcome f: an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • Outcome g: an ability to communicate effectively
  • Outcome h: the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • Outcome i: a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  • Outcome j: a knowledge of contemporary issues
  • Outcome k: an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Assessment

Formal assessment activities were initiated in 1999 with the first exit survey of civil engineering seniors. End-of-semester surveys and the senior exit survey are a component of the department's self-assessment. Since 2002, assessment efforts have been expanded to include examination of student work to determine if student outcomes are being achieved. The effort also includes a comprehensive examination of student experiences in co-ops and performance data from the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. In 2012, a new process was adopted for assessment of student work using performance indicators and grading rubrics.

Program educational objectives, which are developed with the assistance of a target group of employers and other constituents, are assessed through surveying of our alumni and their employers.

Evaluation and Continuous Improvement

In response to the feedback received from the assessment program, the department is engaged in an ongoing program of self-improvement. Recent examples of these activities include:

  • Revision of the Program Educational Objectives
  • Standardization of Student Outcomes
  • New Student Outcomes assessment process
  • Improved prerequisite checking and enforcement
  • Standardization of course syllabi and addition of course assessment matrix
  • Student computing laboratory rehabilitation
  • Formation of advisory panels
  • Outreach Coordinator hired
  • New LinkedIn group