Standing on ye shoulders of giants : promoting a social systems engineering education using ICE president addresses (1820 - 2014)

Murray, Michael and Tennant, Stuart (2016) Standing on ye shoulders of giants : promoting a social systems engineering education using ICE president addresses (1820 - 2014). Civil Engineering and Environmental Systems, 33 (4). pp. 249-266. ISSN 1028-6608

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    Abstract

    Given the paucity of engineering history presently taught on civil engineering programmes, the purpose of this paper is to promote the role of historical testimonies for the delivery of an enhanced, contemporary and social systems educational experience. Drawing on the addresses of the presidents of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) (1820–2014) as a source of inspiration and motivation, civil engineering students (n=428) were required to select and read six inaugural addresses of former ICE presidents and use these as a catalyst for writing their own ‘ICE presidential address’ while keeping an eye forwards to the year 2050.The results reveal that the ICE presidential addresses help introduce undergraduates to the real and ‘human’ world of civil engineering and provide the students with a ‘social’, as opposed to a scientific, understanding of their profession. Exploring and exploiting the substantial depository of knowledge, values, wisdom and social context of ICE presidential addresses are both innovative and novel and worthy of adoption and adaptation by other academies seeking to prepare civil engineering undergraduates as global citizens.