Reforming civil engineering studies in recession times

Sergios Lambropoulos, John-Paris Pantouvakis, Marina Marinelli

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    Abstract

    The recent global economic and financial crisis has led the economies of many countries into recession, in particular at the periphery of the European Union. These countries currently face a significant contraction of both public investment in infrastructure and private investment in buildings and, as a result, the unemployment is particularly noticeable in the civil engineering and building sectors. Consequently, in all countries in recession the professional development of fresh civil engineering graduates is disproportionate to their high study effort and qualifications, since they rarely have the opportunity to gain experience in practice and their knowledge gradually becomes obsolete. Under these circumstances, it is imperative for the technical universities in countries in recession to plan and implement a substantial reform of the civil engineering studies syllabus. The objective should be to enable graduates to broaden the scope of their professional activity and increase their employability. In this paper, the widening of civil engineering studies curricula is proposed, in particular in the light of the development of the graduates’ potential on project, programme and portfolio management. In this direction, after a thorough literature review, including ASCE's Body of Knowledge for the 21st century and IPMA's Competence Baseline, it is recommended among others: to increase significantly the offered modules on project management and add new modules on strategy management, leadership behavior, delivery management, organization and environment etc; to provide adequate professional training during the university studies five year period; and to promote fresh graduates’ certification by professional bodies. The proposals are exemplified by presenting a reformed syllabus for the civil engineering studies offered currently by the National Technical University of Athens.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)776-785
    Number of pages10
    JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
    Volume119
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2014

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