EXTRA CURRICULUM, CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING STUDIES AT UNIVERSITY OF AGDER, NORWAY
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Svennevig, Paul Ragnar; Thorstensen, Rein Terje
Institution: Universtietet i Agder, Norway
Section: Design and Engineering Education for the General Public
The Bachelor of Science education in engineering is limited by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (UHR) to 180 points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A normal study progress is three years consisting of two semesters, totally 6 semesters comprising courses summarising up to 30 ECTS. In 2011 a new framework for engineering educations was introduced by UHR. All institutions offering engineering education had to adjust their curricula according to the new requirements by the fall semester of 2012. When planning these changes, the University of Agder (UiA) decided to retain 60 ECTS fundamental courses in all engineering programmes. A special Industrial Reference Group (IRG) has been established for supporting the Civil and Structural (C&S) engineering education at UiA. This group consists of stakeholders from all major types of employers for C&S engineers; building clients, consultancies, contractors, producers, and municipalities. The IRG supported the decision on retaining the thorough foundation of fundamental courses. However, the different groups of stakeholders in the IRG deviated strongly from one another, when discussing the content of the remaining 120 ECTS. Conclusively, the IRG supported UiAs final decision on total content in the C&S education programme. The programme now comprises important subjects for all parts of the industry. However, a long list of topics requested by the different stakeholders had not been included in the programme, due to lack of space. To accommodate the unsatisfied requests from industry, the concept of “Extra Curriculum” was introduced. The idea is that industry and other stakeholders offer courses to the students on topics that are considered vital by stakeholders, but that is not included in the education programme. The university approves the curriculum, assignments and execution plan and organises the courses, while the stakeholder suggests the curriculum and does the lecturing. This service from the industry (or another stakeholder) should be given free of charge to the university and the students. Multiple Extra Curriculum courses have been offered by members of IRG and even by stakeholders that are not members of the IRG. One unplanned outcome of this activity is that several companies have approached UiA asking if their employees can participate in the courses. Another result is that the members of the reference group now state that students that have participated in Extra Curriculum courses are prioritised in hiring processes.