More than 200 professional engineers and practitioners participated in the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) special engineering sessions the week of May 18-21, at the 2009 EWRI World Water and Environmental Resources Congress in Kansas City. The Academy organized three 2-hour engineering ethics sessions, a 'How to be an Expert Witness' session, and co-sponsored 'The Great Rivers History' track sessions during the week of the Congress.
The Academy sponsored a first session on 'How to be an Expert Witness' at the EWRI Congress, as the topic was the highest requested session from a survey taken by AAWRE among the diplomates of the academy.
This special session was facilitated by AAWRE public board member, Kenneth A. Goodwin, Esq., and founding AAWRE Past-President, Michael A. Ports, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, F.ASCE. The session explored the legal basis for allowing expert testimony, the qualifications an expert engineer must possess in order to qualify to render an opinion on a given subject and what an attorney looks for in an engineer expert witness. The facilitators focused on a how-to approach of the "project of serving as an expert witness," rendering the expert report, giving an expert deposition, and giving live testimony at trial will be examined. The session drew more than 50 participants and AAWRE plans to conduct two 'How to be an Expert Witness' sessions at the 2010 EWRI Congress.
The three separate engineering ethics sessions were to provide AAWRE diplomates and other attendees a convenient opportunity to fulfill annual Professional Development Hours (PDH) renewal requirements in ethics. The sessions were presented as interactive short courses, which encouraged a forum for small group discussions. General overviews of ethical principles were utilized, as presentation of case studies and small group discussions on situations were facilitated. The sessions provided to be a solid opportunity for engineers to freshen up on engineering ethics and to gain understanding of what others engineers consider to be the best solutions to specific cases presented.
David Huddleston, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, professor of civil engineering and interim dean at the Tennessee Technological University and Kevin Young, P.E., BCEE, M.ASCE, senior vice president of J. R. Wauford & Co. Engineering, Inc. and adjunct instructor at the Tennessee Technological University, will guide an engineering ethics workshop using engineering ethics solution strategies typically integrated in undergraduate engineering curricula utilizing a case study of a water resources ethical dilemma in an active learning format.
Professor Huddleston stated: I was very pleased by the attendance and interaction with the group. The group represented a good mixture of academia and industry that facilitated well-balanced perspective during discussions. The group was very engaged with strong participation during "work sessions" and discussions. The audience made it easy for Kevin and me to lead the workshop and we enjoyed the experience.
Deb O'Bannon, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Larry Lennon, P.E., D.WRE, president of Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering, Inc. facilitated an engineering ethics workshop using National Institute for Engineering Ethics' cases and an advanced discussion of macroethics. Participants got an opportunity to discuss in an open forum regarding the issues presented.
Ted Cleveland, Ph.D., P.E., civil engineering professor from Texas Tech University guided an engineering ethics workshop using philosophies and history of ethical reasoning, codes of ethics examined in illustrative examples from fables and daily comics and discussion of workplace ethics sharing intellectual property.
AAWRE highly advocates continuing education in engineering ethics for professional engineers and engineering practitioners. Participants earned up to 2 PDHs for attendance of 1 full ethics session. The academy intends on organizing future engineering ethics sessions, as the ethics portion is a topic that is highly emphasized in the AAWRE's specialty certification program.
AAWRE was a co-sponsor of the EWRI 2009 History Symposium and the Great Rivers History, ASCE, May 2009 publication with 18 papers. Jerry R. Rogers, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE from University of Houston facilitated each of the three sessions, which ranged from 20 to 50 attendees with large interest in the Missouri and Upper Mississippi History." ASCE member and founding AAWRE member, S.K. Nanda, P.E., P.H., D.WRE, M.ASCE, chief engineer of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Rock Island District contributed in on the session.
As the keystone of the 2009 EWRI Congress, the Congress' theme focused on great rivers of the world and the engineering challenges of balancing environmental, developmental, and critically important growth issues while achieving a sustainable future. Session(s) presents an historical perspective of our engineering heritage and legacy — both successes and failures — to provide an essential understanding for advancing the profession.
The Academy hopes to continue to build on the success of its recent engineering sessions and plans to sponsor additional special sessions at future EWRI Congresses.
AAWRE's mission is to improve the practice, elevate standards, and advance the profession of water resources engineering by certifying engineers with specialized knowledge in water resources, recognizing the ethical practice of water resources engineering at the expert level, encouraging continued professional development for engineers, and supporting positions on water resources issues important to the public health. The Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer (D.WRE) credential program is the first voluntary, post-licensure, advanced-level specialty certification program created under Civil Engineering Certification, Inc. (CEC) and ASCE. For more info: www.aawre.org