The chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, P.E., M.ASCE, has declared his support for increased education as a requirement for entering licensed engineering practice in the future. In a letter to ASCE President Robert D. Stevens, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Bostick congratulated ASCE for its support of the Raise the Bar initiative, which seeks to better protect the future public health, safety, and welfare by requiring either a master’s degree or an equivalent 30 hours of advanced education prior to licensure.
In his letter to the ASCE president, Bostick wrote that the “U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shares your concern that the body of knowledge necessary to enter the professional practice of engineering in the future is beyond the scope of today’s four-year ABET/EAC degree – even when coupled with prelicensure on-the-job experience.”
Bostick is the fourth Chief of Engineers to endorse the Raise the Bar initiative. Before him were Lieutenant General Robert B. Flowers, Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock, and Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr.
In an environment of rapidly expanding engineering knowledge but shrinking credit hours for engineering education, Bostick wrote, “In today’s rapid pace of increased technology, individuals must acquire additional technical and specialty training to be significant contributors and competitors in a global market. Engineers must understand more about business, public policy, communications, globalization, lifelong learning, ethics, leadership, teamwork, and other professional skills…. While demands on engineering curricula have increased, many schools have significantly reduced the credit hours required to earn an engineering degree. This trend is counter to our needs.”
ASCE has documented through its Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge for the 21st Century that attaining the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of the future licensed civil engineer will not fit in a four-year curriculum. That insight is mirrored by the National Academy of Engineering, which in its report Educating the Engineer of 2020 found that “the exploding body of science and engineering knowledge cannot be accommodated within the context of the traditional four-year baccalaureate degree.”
In his letter to ASCE, Bostick wrote, “Your model for attainment of the formal educational portion of the Body of Knowledge is logical, practical, and achievable…. [T]he implementation of [ASCE] Policy Statement 465 [Raise the Bar] is, in my view, a step in the right direction and one that the USACE fully supports.”
Bostick concluded that a “workforce thoroughly prepared for entry into professional practice can only lead to heightened protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare.”