Civil Engineering Department Receives National Recognition

Friday, April 14, 2017
Civil Engineering students and faculty at Rose-Hulman use surveying instruments in the field.

Ready For the Next Step: The Department of Civil Engineering has implemented several academic and career preparation initiatives to encourage students to seek professional licensure while practicing strong ethical and professional standards.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers with the Walter LeFevre Award for exemplary promotion of licensure, ethics education and professionalism in engineering education.

All of the department’s 2016 graduates took the national Fundamentals of Engineering Exam, with 78 percent passing. Eighty-seven percent of the department’s faculty members are licensed as professional engineers within the United States.

“Our faculty and staff lead as positive role models in their careers and daily lives, and are committed to our students’ professional and personal development,” says Department Head Kevin Sutterer, who will accept the award during the ASCE Department Heads National Conference, June 5-7 in Provo, Utah. “We believe our efforts have produced meaningful change in their ethical and professional behavior and attitudes.”

All graduating civil engineering students are strongly encouraged to take the FE exam annually, and a series of guest speakers from industry assist in addressing the importance of licensure to a graduate’s career. Students also learn how to become eligible to take the Professional Engineering licensure exam and the vital role of continuing education in career development.

While the department has had a longstanding practice of teaching ethical decision making, these efforts have been integrated during the past three years into each year of a student’s academic development. Freshmen are taught to recognize their personal values, while sophomores are introduced to the ASCE Code of Ethics as an example of shared values. Then, juniors are trained in the formal ethical decision-making process and seniors analyze no-win solutions to real-world work situations. This training has become a model for other academic departments on campus.

Three guest alumni speakers highlight career professionalism annually: A recent graduate shares advice to seniors about the transition from student to professional engineer; an alumnus with five to eight years of experience discusses how an employee can position for a promotion and take the necessary steps toward career advancement; and a veteran alumnus highlights the value of having career mentors.

This is the first time that Rose-Hulman has received the LeFevre Award, established by ASCE in 2007 to honor the professionalism and career achievements of E. Walter LeFevre. Awards recognize small-college programs such as Rose-Hulman, with 50 or fewer graduates annually, and large-college programs, with more than 50 annual graduates.