Academics' community

Have you noticed, as I have, how almost everyone has strong personal views on education? One’s own educational experiences mould one for life, and the footprint that one’s education leaves usually drives one to reinforce great experiences or to challenge for change. 

As the world’s foremost body for structural engineering, the Institution of Structural Engineers has listened to its membership, and has decided to challenge for change. The highly-ambitious Education Project was launched in 2010, with three main objectives:

  • To enhance the education of our structural engineering students by providing tangible aids to their learning
  • To bring together the academic community to share good practice and discuss issues relevant to education
  • To highlight areas of best practice in structural engineering education through the award of an annual prize
The project has been led from the start by Dr Graham Owens, a Past President of the Institution. Graham’s enthusiasm and drive during this project have meant that the outcomes have had the desired impact, and the Essential Knowledge Texts, in particular, are a lasting legacy of this project. 

These texts provide the student (and practitioner!) of structural engineering with short, punchy and clear narratives associated with the full range of important issues in the field. Collectively, they cover that which structural engineers need to master in order to call themselves structural engineers. Written by leading designers and academics, these texts will be taken up enthusiastically by anyone interested in learning about the core principles of our profession.

The Annual Academics’ Conference has simply grown from strength to strength, and ensures that our academic community continues to innovate in its approach to internationally-leading educational principles in structural engineering. The 2016 Conference covered a range of highly topical issues around the theme of policy, practice and inspiration in built environment higher education.

The Excellence in Structural Engineering Education Award reflects some of the wonderful approaches which are being taken at our universities to instil a profound understanding of structural behaviour, a subject which is fundamentally complex in nature and reliant on far more than mere mathematics or physics skills.

All the key outputs from this project are disseminated through this Academics’ Community. You are encouraged to spend some time reading them and contributing to the on-going discussion threads, as you reflect on how this work can enable you to improve the learning in your students.

Tim Ibell
2015 Past President


Annual Academics' Conference Presentations 2015:

Arup_FRI_IStructE_EXT_17-09-2015_V1.pdf (3.08 MB)
Arup_FRI_IStructE_EXT_17-09-2015_V1.pptx (28.59 MB)
NOW_Academy of Engineering Mood v5 (1).mp4

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By Phrase By Subject By Degree By Year

Essential Knowledge on approximate analysis of skeletal structures
This publication presents simple approaches to the approximate analysis of two dimensional skeletal structures.
Author and Affiliation: Dr Graham Owens
Date Added:15/01/2013 13:40:37

Desired learning outcomes from Batchelor and Masters’ degrees in Civil and Structural Engineering
The Institution’s requirements of understanding of structural behaviour from immediate graduates: These are based on debates at the 2009 to 2011 Annual Academics’ Conferences, followed by substantial discussion within the Project Steering Committee.
Author and Affiliation: Graham Owens, Project Consultant
Date Added:15/01/2013 13:26:35

Software for Engineering - A novel approach to Structures Teaching
A submission for the 2012 Award Scheme for Educational Excellence.
Author and Affiliation: Fraser Smith, University of Dundee
Date Added:18/05/2012 13:00:48

Innovative Structural Engineering Teaching at the University of Bath
A submission for the 2012 Award Scheme for Educational Excellence.
Author and Affiliation: Tim Ibell, Mark Evernden and Antony Darby* - Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY
Date Added:18/05/2012 12:59:24

Understanding and Using Structural Concepts
A submission for the 2012 Award Scheme for Educational Excellence. It will be reviewed and assessed by the Project Steering Committee at its meeting on 27th April
Author and Affiliation: Tianjian Ji and Adrian Bell, The University of Manchester
Date Added:02/04/2012 10:24:58

Report on 2011 Workshops
A comprehensive report on the 2011 workshops, highlighting facilitation, overall objectives, programmes and overall conclusions. An Annex presents detailed programmes and conclusions from each event.
Author and Affiliation: Graham Owens, Project Consultant
Date Added:02/04/2012 10:24:25

The Structures Thread at the University of Salford
A submission for the 2012 Award Sheme for Educational Excellence. It will be reviewed and assessed by the Project Steering Committee at its meeting on 27th April
Author and Affiliation: Neil Currie, Jonathan Haynes, Phil Leach, Jinyan Wang, Laurence Weekes., University of Salford
Date Added:02/04/2012 10:19:32

Whence education?
A personal view from Mike Cook, Vice President of the Institution and Chairman of the Education Panel and the Education Project Steering Committee. It puts the Education Project in the wider context of professional development and the needs of the Structural Engineering profession.
Author and Affiliation: Mike Cook, Chairman of Buro Happold
Date Added:02/04/2012 10:11:15

Background to the Project’s Learning Outcomes: contributions from the Project Steering Committee
A resumé of the email debate that preceded the launch of the Academics’ Forum in March 2012. It took as its starting point the Syllabus defined in the Project’s Business Plan in July 2011. The outcome of this debate was the statement of Learning Outcomes completed in January 2012
Author and Affiliation: Project Steering Committee
Date Added:19/03/2012 13:56:57

Synopsis for: Essential knowledge on the behaviour of two-dimensional frameworks
The agreed synopsis for ‘Essential knowledge on the behaviour of two dimensional frameworks’. This publication was given a high priority because of its importance and students poor performance in this area.
Author and Affiliation: David Brohn, new paradigm solutions
Date Added:19/03/2012 13:55:09

Synopsis: Essential knowledge on Structural Materials
The agreed syllabus for ‘Essential knowledge on structural materials’. A high priority was given to this text because of the importance of the subject and the lack of any comprehensive document aimed at structural engineering students
Author and Affiliation: Mark Evernden, University of Bath
Date Added:19/03/2012 13:53:14

Synopsis for: Essential knowledge on modelling processes and modelling guidance
The agreed synopsis for the preparation of this text in the Essential Knowledge series. It was given a high priority because of the importance of the topic in the era of computer analysis
Author and Affiliation: Iain MacLeod, University of Strathclyde
Date Added:19/03/2012 13:50:26

Synopsis for: Essential knowledge for approximate analysis of indeterminate structures
Agreed synopsis for ‘Essential knowledge for approximate analysis of indeterminate structures.’ A high priority was given to this text because of its importance and the absence of any comparable published guidance
Author and Affiliation: Graham Owens, Institution of Structural Engineers
Date Added:19/03/2012 13:22:56

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