November/December 2022 - 102

Undergraduate Education
In the U.S., the first step on the most
direct path to professional licensure for
civil engineers is graduating from an
undergraduate engineering program
that is accredited by the Accreditation
Board for Engineering and Technology
(ABET). As such, academic institutions
are motivated to obtain and maintain
accreditation. As of this writing, 294
institutions in the U.S. have ABET
accredi ted undergraduate civi l
eng ineer ing bache l or ' s degree
programs. In many respects, the
accreditation criteria are the single
mos t impor tant fac tor guiding
undergraduate civil engineering
curricula. While the ASCE Body of
Knowledge informs ABET accreditation
criteria and civil engineering curricula,
it is not binding.
In i ts 2022-2023 cri teria for
accrediting engineering programs,
ABET has both general criteria, as well
as civil engineering specific criteria
that programs must meet. Within the
general criteria, sustainability is most
prominent in the student outcomes of
criterion 3, where outcomes 2 and 4 directly
address aspects of sustainability:
2. " An ability to apply engineering
design to produce solutions that
me e t s p e c i f i e d ne e d s wi t h
consideration of public health,
safety, and welfare, as well as global,
cultural, social, environmental, and
economic factors. "
4. " An ability to recognize ethical and
professional responsibilities in
engineering situations and make
informed judgments, which must
consider the impact of engineering
solutions in global, economic,
envi ronmental , and soc ietal
contexts. "
In addition to these outcomes in the
general criteria, ABET civil engineering
criteria state that the curriculum must
pr epar e g radua t es to " inc lude
principles of sustainability in design. "
102 * DEEP FOUNDATIONS * NOV/DEC 2022
There is currently no explicit ac...
to prepare graduates
for successful and ethical
engineering practice, civil
engineering programs
must provide instruction in
how to account for social,
environmental and economic
constraints in design.
As the needs of the profession and
accreditation criteria have evolved over
the last three decades, different
approaches have been used to
incorporate sustainability into civil
engineering curricula. Some programs
developed separate, stand-alone
courses to address sustainability, while
others incorporated it into existing
disciplinary courses. With the current
accreditation outcomes, it is now
common to see sustainability topics
throughout the curriculum, with
signi ficant emphasis placed on
sustainability in design courses and
other upper-level elective courses.
creditation requirement for undergraduate
civil engineering programs
that mandates a soil mechanics or
geotechnical engineering course.
Rather, ABET requires that graduates
are prepared to " analyze and solve
problems in at least four technical areas
appropriate to civil engineering " and to
" conduct experiments in at least two
technical areas of civil engineering and
analyze and interpret the resulting
data. " Often, programs elect to use an
undergraduate soil mechanics course
and its accompanying lab in meeting
these criteria, but it is possible for an
undergraduate to receive an accredited
bachelor's degree in civil engineering
without any training in geotechnical
engineering.
Since geotechnical courses are not
required for an accredited degree, there
is no significant incentive to include
substantial sustainability content in
introductory undergraduate geotechnical
engineering or soil mechanics
courses. The situation is different in
more advanced undergraduate geotechnical
courses (e.g., foundation
engineering), which are commonly
electives and often contain more
significant design elements and or
design projects. To the extent that
advanced geotechnical courses involve
design, they may be used within a civil
engineering program to achieve student
outcomes 2 and 4 in the ABET criteria,
and in such cases must include aspects
of sustainability.
For example, at Northeastern
University, the undergraduate foundation
engineering course serves as a
project elective course in the curriculum.
Students are required to take
one project elective course to graduate,
and all project electives are used to
address outcomes 2 and 4 in the ABET
criteria. As a result, sustainability in
geotechnical engineering design is
incorporated into the foundation
engineering course and the semester
project ; students recommend a

November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

TOC
November/December 2022 - Intro
November/December 2022 - 1
November/December 2022 - 2
November/December 2022 - TOC
November/December 2022 - 4
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