A possible civil engineering BOK2 curriculum at Northern Arizona University

Debra Larson, Joshua T Hewes

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The second edition of the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century (BOK2) is a comprehensive, coordinated list of 24 outcomes which define the knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected of the future civil engineer. The BOK2 outcomes use Bloom's Taxonomy for cognitive development to help define the levels of achievement (LOA) expected to be achieved prior to entry into the professional practice of civil engineering, as well as the levels of achievement for each outcome relative to each stage in the engineer's development, from the baccalaureate degree program, to post-baccalaureate formal education, to pre-licensure working experience. As part of a continuing effort, ASCE's Body of Knowledge Educational Fulfillment Committee (BOKEdFC) is examining how programs are responding to the BOK2 and possible ways the BOK2 outcomes may be integrated into civil engineering curricula. Previously, the BOKEdFC examined survey data illustrating how well programs, in their current design, achieve the educational outcomes of both the first and second editions of the civil engineering BOK. Based on the survey data and analysis, the BOKEdFC concluded that several BOK2 outcomes may be "challenging" for many programs to address in today's civil engineering curricula. These include the nine "red outcomes": Outcomes 3 - Humanities, 4 - Social Sciences, 10 - Sustainability, 11 - Contemporary Issues & History, 12 - Risk & Uncertainty, 17 - Public Policy, 18 - Business & Public Administration, 19 - Globalization, and 20 - Leadership. In addition, the committee identified Outcomes 5 - Material Science and 24 - Professional & Ethics as outcomes that may be challenging for programs to fully implement. The purpose of this paper is threefold: (1) provide an analysis of Northern Arizona University's current undergraduate civil engineering curriculum with respect to the BOK2 with attention given to the challenging outcomes; (2) propose a revised BOK2-orientated curriculum within Northern Arizona University's context; and (3) provide an analysis of that curriculum. Engineering science courses and senior-level technical electives were removed to make room for courses more suitable to the BOK2 and to reduce overall program credit hours. Compliance to the current ABET EAC was maintained, along with the commitment to our unique program of meaningful, varied, and multiple design experiences delivered in a problem-based format every year of the curriculum. Constraints including budgetary pressures and implementation of the XBOR's 2020 vision coupled to an evolving and complicated general education program with a 1 semester abroad agenda strained Northern Arizona University's BOK2 curriculum redesign efforts. Without relaxation of the requirements that liberal studies courses must come from outside the major requirements and that creation of new courses is to be minimized, four of the "challenging" BOK2 outcomes are not achievable at the prescribed LOA. Furthermore, concerns were developed about the BOK2 curriculum's impact on students' future success with the FE if this exam is not aligned to the BOK2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2010
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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