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. . . as ICE helps unis put history into courses

ICE news

THE ICE is drawing up plans to encourage more university lecturers to include civil engineering history in their engineering degree courses.

Last month the ICE Panel for Historical Engineering Works said that many tutors lack a basic understanding of how engineering has developed and influenced current practice.

The panel met to discuss how to push forward with plans following initial discussions with universities.

Panel chairman Brian Crossley said that the extent of civil engineering history covered in degree courses ranged from 'nil to adequate'. But he added that all departments contacted were keen to work with the ICE on how to improve the situation.

'This could be by providing material for a specific civil engineering history subject on the syllabus or by providing case studies of how different design methods relate to, say the work of Telford or Brunel, ' he said.

Crossley represents the ICE on the Engineering Council (UK) registration and standards committee and initially brought up the issue last year. ECUK now specifies that higher education courses should include technology development.

This was taken on board last month by the Joint Board of Moderators which accredits civil and structural engineering courses.

'We now want to work with academics and practitioners to establish what should be developed, ' said Crossley.

ICE head librarian Mike Chrimes said it was becoming more important for students to learn about past design and construction methods because so many projects now involved refurbishment or demolition.

As well as producing case studies, Chrimes is also keen to collate information on specific types of structures and elements.

'Lecturers usually talk about Ronan Point and Tacoma Narrows, but it might be interesting to learn how Leonardo designed beams, ' he said.

The panel will hold a meeting on July 20 with the Institution Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Motorway Archive Trust to discuss how to disseminate information to university lecturers. Anyone wishing to attend should contact head librarian Mike Chrimes at mike. chrimes@ice. org. u k or (020)7222 7722.

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