Friday, August 26, 2016 - 11:03am

Though its presence at UGA goes back to the 19th century, civil engineering at the university entered another new era with its initial ABET accreditation announced this week:

As part of the evaluation, the commission used detailed criteria to analyze student performance and outcomes, curriculum requirements and program educational objectives, faculty competency and facilities.

In its final report, ABET listed an emphasis on written and oral communications skills and the interdisciplinary nature of academic programs as institutional strengths of the college.

"Few, if any, courses offered in the college are only required by one program," the report noted. "This creates a unique, multidisciplinary learning environment for students, giving them a broader context for learning and problem solving that includes their chosen field of engineering integrated with other engineering disciplines."

Emphasis added and we bring attention to this as a major aspect of the rationale behind re-introducing comprehensive engineering education at UGA. Many are the reasons to teach and train engineers in a liberal arts environment - solutions to today's challenges are not limited technical calculation but involve people, policy and planetary considerations that go beyond the thermodynamics laws as much as they continue to rely on them. Engineers need the humanities, language, social sciences, communication and more. Franklin college departments, faculty and administrators have long been strong partners of and collaborators with enginering at the university. Congratulations to all on this milestone accomplishment and best of luck to our newest class of engineering students.

Image: Engineers at UGA in the 1880's, with professor David C. Barrow at the center, from Nash Boney's A Pictorial History of the University of Georgia