Engineers have played a crucial role in some of humanity’s greatest achievements, such as the pyramids in Egypt, the Brooklyn Bridge, and piloted spaceflight (Stark, 2009). The progress of civilization heavily relies on engineering skills. Now more than ever, engineering is essential due to the rapid advancements in information technologies, robotics, biotechnology, and the fusion of invention with scientific discovery. These advancements have had profound effects on all aspects of life, often in unexpected ways. Information technologies not only enhance communication but also disrupt work methods and global business organization. Environmental and societal issues require both local and global solutions. Engineers are at the forefront of these developments and play a vital role in addressing the far-reaching consequences of rapid innovation. Their knowledge and capabilities serve as critical resources for the world. The pursuit of greater economic value worldwide has placed significant importance on technological innovation.
Technological innovation is increasingly connecting engineering expertise to economic prosperity. The field of engineering is going through significant changes, prompting government and industry leaders – the main employers of engineers – to understand these transformations in engineering practice and knowledge (Sheppard, et. al., 2009). Universities and colleges play a crucial role in training engineers due to the difficult and demanding nature of the discipline. Engineering entails utilizing mathematics and science to design, test, improve, and develop products, services, or technologies for societal benefit. It encompasses various evolving areas of expertise that are vital for an effective engineering process. Engineering institutions not only provide suitable learning environments and opportunities but also collaborate with professional engineering organizations and accreditation boards to establish programs that remain current and meet the dynamic requirements of contemporary society (Schiavone, 2002).
A study on undergraduate engineering education in the United States revealed that it still uses an outdated approach to problem solving and knowledge acquisition. The study found that the focus is mainly on technical knowledge, with less emphasis on preparing students for professional practice. Additionally, the current curriculum does not align with research findings on learning and expert development.
Comparatively, during the 2004-2005 school year in the Philippines, Engineering was the fourth most popular program among students, attracting 14% of total students. Other popular programs included Business Administration (22%), Medical Sciences (17%), Education (16%), and Mathematics and Computer Science (9%).
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) emphasizes the importance of Engineering as a discipline. Civil engineers, like other branches of engineering, receive education from higher institutions. CHED Memorandum Order No.29, Series of 2007 states that civil engineers address issues such as flood control, landslides, air and water pollution, and the design of structures to withstand natural disasters by utilizing scientific principles and computational tools. They contribute to the development and maintenance of civilized life on Earth through projects including bridges, buildings, dams, airports, ports and harbors, highways, tunnels, towers and water distribution systems.
However, Dr. Romeo Estañero (2009), executive director of the Association of Civil Engineering Educators of the Philippines (ACEEP), highlights that while some schools focus on equipping students with necessary skills for their profession,others primarily aim to train them to pass licensure exams.(Source: www.ched.gov.ph)
Having a basic understanding of civil engineering is crucial and is typically acquired through educational training.However,a license is required for practicing civil engineering professionally.It is important to prioritize learning how to use the tools and acquiring necessary skills; passing licensure examinations should be secondary.
In fact, as per CHED Memorandum Order No.29, Series of 2007, Policies and Standards for the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering state that graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE) program must fulfill the following requirements:
1. Apply knowledge of mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering sciences to civil engineering.
2. Design and conduct experiments, as well as analyze and interpret data.
3. Design, build, improve, and install systems or processes within realistic constraints to meet desired needs.
4. Work effectively in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams.
5. Recognize, formulate, and solve civil engineering problems.
6. Understand the effects and impact of civil engineering projects on nature and society while acknowledging social and ethical responsibilities as a civil engineer.
7. Possess specialized engineering knowledge in applicable fields to provide solutions for real-world problems.
8. Communicate effectively orally and in writing using the English language.
9. Engage in life-long learning with an understanding of the need to stay updated on developments in their specific field of specialization.
10. Utilize appropriate techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools essential for practicing civil engineering.
11. Demonstrate knowledge about contemporary issues.
These are mandatory criteria set forth by Policy No. 29 from 2007 for obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at this institution.
According to Dr. Estañero (2009), the level and caliber of civil engineering education provided by academic institutions offering civil engineering programs is crucial in determining the success of individuals in the field of civil engineering.
The qualifications and abilities of teachers heavily influence the quality of education. When teachers have low qualifications, it leads to lower levels of academic achievement among students. According to Eleanor Dougherty from Georgetown University, teacher quality is the most crucial factor in determining academic success. Linda Hammond-Darling, the director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, supports this statement by highlighting the critical role of teacher expertise in student achievement. Interestingly, a review conducted in the United States over 40 years found that no innovation improved student achievement, emphasizing that knowledgeable and skilled teachers are essential for success. This review also discovered that teacher preparation significantly predicts student achievement and that teacher expertise is the most significant determining factor for student success. McCarthy (2008) references Shulman and Hutchings’ claim that all faculty members hold a responsibility to teach effectively. Additionally, Bucu et al. (1994) specify that effective teaching skills are necessary for good college teachers. These principles also apply to engineering instructors.
According to Sheppard, et. al. (2009), the engineering faculty have a crucial role in revitalizing the approach to preparing future engineers. Their energy, creativity, and initiative will determine how programs can become more integrated and cohesive. It is their responsibility to fuel creativity, nurture technological curiosity, and foster social responsibility among the next generation of engineers.
Schiavone (2002) notes that engineering instructors are not trained as teachers but rather as creators, designers, testers, improvers, and developers of products and services. Therefore, it is essential for these instructors to receive instructional training. This training helps develop employees, improves their performance, and boosts morale. Ultimately, this leads to increased effectiveness of the organization and productivity of the business (Chapman 2010).
Mendoza (2009) defines training as a planned and systematic effort to modify or develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to achieve effective performance in a specific activity or range of activities. In the workplace context, its purpose is equipping individuals with the abilities or competencies needed to adequately perform a given task or job. The first step in any training program is determining if training is necessary and specifying achievable objectives.
Training in any organization, including for educators, should be based on a needs analysis. This involves comparing current practices to desired practices and identifying areas that need improvement. The Graduand Teacher Competencies Framework (GTCF) emphasizes the importance of teachers progressing from awareness to capacity building in order to develop competence. By using the GTCF, teachers can identify the specific competencies they need and then continue to enhance them throughout their career through practice and professional development opportunities. To improve their awareness-level competencies, teachers can participate in induction and mentoring programs, take professional development courses, or learn from experienced teachers within professional learning communities.
According to Low, et. al. (2009), educators in the 21st century should have three core competencies. These competencies are professional practice, leadership and management, and personal effectiveness. A teacher with professional practice believes in the ability of all students to learn and takes every opportunity to encourage learning, both inside and outside the classroom. They also continuously work on improving their own professional practice to ensure quality learning experiences. A teacher with leadership and management skills is able to inspire and engage students, as well as collaborate effectively with parents and colleagues. They actively seek out opportunities for professional collaboration within and beyond the school. Lastly, a teacher with personal effectiveness understands the importance of self-development in order to provide support for others. They uphold high standards of personal and professional integrity in all their duties and responsibilities.
Santopoalo (2008) identified 10 Core Competencies that are crucial for adjunct faculty to effectively function as educators in higher education settings. These competencies are applicable to adjunct faculty from any discipline, regardless of the level of their students or the learning environment. The core competencies include:
- Maintaining current knowledge in one’s subject matter.
- Developing course content that aligns with the objectives, methodology, and evaluation of the higher education setting.
- Cultivating a student-centered learning environment.
- Employing appropriate teaching strategies to actively engage students and achieve desired outcomes.
- Adjusting teaching style to accommodate diverse student learning styles.
- Effectively interacting with a diverse student population.
7. Utilize instructional technology to support the learning process. 8. Give student feedback in a way that promotes learning. 9. Choose and implement suitable assessment methods to evaluate student learning. 10. Utilize assessment results to enhance teaching effectiveness. It is important to develop the competencies required by educators. The Faculty Development Program plays a crucial role in establishing a solid foundation for the education system and ensuring quality education (www.ched.gov.ph). Recent studies on professional development opportunities highlight the significance of high-quality professional development. Teachers should collaborate to create and implement professional development programs that address shared concerns and capitalize on strengths. The effectiveness of promising professional development programs is ultimately assessed based on their influence on teacher effectiveness and student learning, which in turn guides future professional development endeavors (www.ed.gov).