The PE License in Academia

In the October issue of ASEE’sPrismmagazine, two engineering educators ask,“Why the double standard?”The double standard, they say, comes from the dearth of engineering faculty who hold a PE license while engineering colleges preach the importance of PE licensure to their students.

The article is written by Rob Lang, P.E., a former dean and professor of civil engineering at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Kirankumar Topudurti, P.E., deputy director of the Engineer Research and Development Center-Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an adjunct faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Both are NSPE members, and Topudurtiwon NSPE’s 2009 Federal Engineer of the Year Award.

The authors urge universities to set a goal of requiring the PE license for all tenured faculty. “Some will argue that tenured and tenure-track faculty with doctorates already have very high credentials,” the authors write. “This is undoubtedly true, but a license means something more. It means a practitioner can be trusted, as the NCEES Model Law puts it, to ‘safeguard life, health, and property and to promote the public welfare.’”

Published November 1, 2012 by NSPE

Filed under: PE license, Education,


Those who can, DO.

Those who can't, Teach.

Those who can't Teach......teach Gym.

We can't all be athletes or teachers and let China do all the doing.

Friday, November 02, 2012 8:26 AM by Joe Liptow, PE

A piece of paper is not an assurance of competence.

It only proves that the person has the persitence, connections, and resources to obtain the piece of paper.

I would prefer something along the lines SCUBA instruction industry does.  They set their requirements for certification, conduct research to improve those standards, and provide legal defense to those that run afowl lawsuits while conducting business within the boundaries of those standards.  

It keeps most of the politicians/bureaucrats and the acedemia out of it.  In other words it'll cost 1/10 as much and run twice as smoothly.

Saturday, November 17, 2012 9:50 AM by Jeff

Academia should do this and not think twice.  In many states, academics have the opportunity to submit their tenure portfolio and are not even required to take the test.

Remember, this is a bachelor's level examination to test for minimal competency.  I know one practioner who tried to apply for PE status as an adjunct at a major university.  The state board denied him and told him with all of his accomplishments and work, he should take the test.  Sadly, this guy gave up-- his argument was that his BS degree was in Physics, not the engineering discipline that he was seeking.

I argued with him that my BS degree is not in the engineering discipline that I tested in either, however, I did take the test and passed, first time!  Of course, I studied hard as well.  Yes, we both have terminal degrees in engineering.

Academics are afraid of failure, I understand that.  Hell, I was afraid also, however, I was not going to let that stop me-- I do concur that having a PE should count for something going for tenure-- something, not sure what.

Monday, December 17, 2012 8:35 PM by Solomon, PE

I think those that teach and have necessary and appropriate practical experiences (which allow them to qualify to sit for the  Professional Engineering certification) should reach for that professional status. It should make them a better professor if they have practical experience.

If you have a PhD and no practical experience, you shouldn't be able to sit for the PE exam. The PE represents demonstrated real work, (not academic) proficiency. My two cents.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 5:10 PM by Steve Metheny, PE LEED AP

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments are moderated and don't appear on the site until after they are reviewed.