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Source: David Fritchen, 785-532-5964, dfritch@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-2535, media@k-state.edu

Thursday, July 8, 2010

K-STATE ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING PROGRAM RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR PROMOTING LICENSURE, ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's architectural engineering program has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Walter LeFevre Award, which recognizes outstanding actions in the promotion of licensure, ethics and professionalism in the field.

It's the first time the society has selected an architectural engineering program to receive the award, according to David Fritchen, professor and head of K-State's department of architectural engineering and construction science. He said the achievement brings significant national recognition to K-State and the College of Engineering.

"Inasmuch as there are more than 2,000 engineering programs at more than 500 colleges and universities nationwide that could compete for this award, it is a very positive reflection on the quality of engineering education, high ethical standards and professionalism that K-State architectural engineering graduates are known for," Fritchen said.

The architectural engineering program at K-State is a five-year, 158-credit-hour program. It is accredited by ABET, the accreditation board for engineering and technology.

The program had to meet several criteria to be eligible for the award. The society examined the percentage of the program's graduates who took the Fundamentals of Engineering exam each year and the percentage of those graduates who passed the exam while enrolled in the program. The exam is one of two engineers must pass to earn the Professional Engineer certification.

"In 2009 we had 98 percent of our graduates take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and 88 percent passed the exams, compared with the national architectural engineering pass rate average of about 70 percent," Fritchen said.

The society also looked at the number of professionally licensed faculty members currently in the program as part of the award criteria.

All faculty who teach classes in architectural engineering at K-State are licensed professional engineers, Fritchen said.

"Several of these faculty also carry other professional credentials, including four members who have attained the LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional designation, from the U.S. Green Building Council; two structural engineers who have the Structural Engineer designation for design of structures in seismic zones; and one of the only faculty members in the world to attain the High Performance Building Design Certification from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc.," he said. "All of these professional designations and accomplishments set an example of professionalism in the department and with the students."

K-State's architectural engineering program also had to submit a subjective, narrative evaluation outlining the extent of the program's curriculum devoted to licensure, ethics and professionalism. The evaluation had to explain the activities undertaken by the department to promote these values.

Ethics and professionalism are taught and promoted across the curriculum in several classes, Fritchen said.

"Our faculty work as a team in promoting uniform professional and ethical standards in their classes to send a clear message to the students that these are very important qualities of the engineering profession and that they directly impact their personal character and integrity," he said. "We encourage our students to assume leadership positions at all levels in national organizations and at the university, college and department level. This sets the bar for all of our students and is important for their development. In addition, many of our department scholarships are based on leadership, participation and personal character, as well as scholastic achievement."

Fritchen said many of the department's faculty and students are active in the Architectural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers. "In fact, the national president for the institute's student chapters is Karen Reiboldt, a K-State senior in architectural engineering from Wichita. Ray Yunk, a professor in our department, is a member of the institute's board of governors and vice chair of the institute's architectural engineering Professional Engineer Exam Development Committee," he said.

Fritchen will accept the award on the program's behalf Oct. 22 at the annual conference of the American Society of Civil Engineers in Las Vegas.

"The selection of our architectural engineering program as the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2010 Walter LeFevre Award is the result of a team effort that capitalizes on the leadership, commitment and professionalism of the faculty-student team, our industry advisory council and many dedicated industry partners," Fritchen said. "Working together we have built positive and lasting relationships with many consulting engineer firms that provide our students and graduates with excellent employment opportunities. Our alumni also promote and reinforce the value of licensure, ethics and professionalism in their careers, and they show the value of the engineering education that they received at K-State."