Civil engineering education standards body the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) briefed ICE Council members last week on its plans for lecturers and tutors teaching accredited civils courses to be professionally qualified engineers.
The suggestion was broadly welcomed by Council, but some members warned of the dangers of imposing strict membership requirements.
The JBM consists of the ICE, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institute of Highway Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Highway and Transportation.
Original aims were for 50% of staff teaching on accredited degree programmes to be members of one of the four JBM institutions.
This goal has since been scaled down to require that 50% be members of Engineering Council institutions. The JBM has said it will work closely with the universities to achieve this.
ICE vice president Geoff French urged the creation of a clear policy. “Choose your benchmark, and impose it. If you have a wishy-washy approach you’ll get a wishy-washy response.”
But JBM chairman John Roberts said that skills that could get lost.
Lecturers “might have skills in hydraulics, or mechanics, or have international qualifications,” he said, without the necessary institution membership.
Former ICE president Paul Jowitt, a professor of civil engineering systems at Heriot-Watt University, said the move to 50% of lecturers being professionally qualified with Engineering Council organisations was “perfectly acceptable”.
“I could run a perfectly good civil engineering programme with academic staff drawn from Engineering Council institutions other than those of the JBM,” he said.
He added that, “we don’t want people to become members through coercion. We should be big enough not to worry about whether people are members with us. If we’re good enough, they’ll come and join us.”