Raise the Bar, just-published by the American Society of Civil Engineers, documents and advocates why we must redefine how civil engineers are educated and prepared for professional practice in the 21 st century—and beyond.

This compilation of 10 professional papers chronicles the 15-year history of the group’s Raise the Bar initiative—that will enable civil engineering professionals to meet the technological, environmental, economic, social, and political challenges of the future.

A common thread within the book, and what binds the papers together, is the continued need for civil engineers to support the Raise the Bar Initiative.



With this initiative, engineers of all disciplines in industry, public service, business and academia are preparing for the future by pursuing a vitally needed new baseline of professionalism.

Through efforts that include implementation of a civil engineering Body of Knowledge, changes in accreditation criteria, and modification of state licensure laws, ASCE has been a leading advocate to change the way we prepare today’s engineering students to be tomorrow’s civil engineers.

The book, and the initiative it chronicles, is aimed at licensed practice in the future and ensuring that engineers are better prepared to serve the public in the face of future challenges and technologies.

Civil engineers have always faced demanding challenges in meeting the needs of society and in protecting the public. The world today is undergoing widespread and rapid change that includes a technological revolution, population growth, resource use and availability, sustainable initiatives, and more.

These issues continue to challenge the profession and help clarify an undeniable fact—that the next decades will be the most challenging, creative and rewarding of times for civil engineers.

They also illustrate why the education and preparation of civil engineers must be continually evaluated and enhanced to meet the needs of modern life.

However, most significantly, Raise the Bar does not represent either a resting place, a final objective, or a finished work. There are differences of opinion on the need for the initiative, and they must be considered and debated.

The challenge facing tomorrow’s civil engineers is constantly renewed—beckoning every practitioner and academician to meet society’s needs in a complex and interconnected world.

The successful processes of the past and the associated “lessons learned” must be clearly communicated to future leaders and proponents of the Raise the Bar initiative. These experiences should guide the future direction of this ongoing effort.

A relevant quotation from Adlai E. Stevenson, a two-time presidential candidate, comes to mind: “We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.”

Raise the Bar superbly chronicles a rich body of work—steps in a journey that never ends.

The book can be ordered through the ASCE web site and is available in either soft-cover or e-book formats.

For details visit: http://www.asce.org/Product.aspx?ID=2147487569&ProductID=194396158

Jeffrey S. Russell is a co-editor of Raise the Bar and currently vice provost for lifelong learning and dean of continuing studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His co-editor is Thomas A. Lenox, executive vice president of professional & educational strategic initiatives at the American Society of Civil Engineers.

As the civil engineering profession evolves in an era of rapid and significant changes in technology, methodology, materials and processes, the need has never been greater for expanded technical and professional knowledge.