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Home > Promising Approaches in Higher Education > Course: Senior Capstone for Civil and Environment Engineers

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Course: Senior Capstone for Civil and Environment Engineers

Promising Approaches

  • (1) Provide instruction in academic disciplines through the lens of government, history, law, and democracy.
  • (2) Incorporate discussion of current local, national, and international issues and events into the classroom, particularly those that young people view as important to their lives.
  • (3) Design and implement programs that provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn through performing community service that is linked to the formal curriculum and classroom instruction. 
  • (4) Encourage and support activities and student and community organizations that provide opportunities for students to be engaged in their campuses and communities.
  • (8) Involve students in the development and sustaining of campus/community partnerships.


The learning objective is to use professional and general knowledge and expertise that engineering students have learned throughout their degree programs in an actual project.  Student group must find a real project external to the Civil Engineering Department.  In 2005, projects ranged from a new rugby field for the Athletic Department to a new building for the Boston Red Sox organization (you may have seen this one in the papers:  Aimee Dolloff, Bangor Daily News, April 27, 2005, page 1).  The students must organize the project, complete a design, and then present that design to both the department and the client.

Special Features

Civic Learning Goals

  • Civic knowledge:  Recognize the variety of characteristics and actions of effective, participating citizens; identify, define, and describe the community in which they live and understand local problems and their connections to problems on the state and national level; the variety of ways an individual can help solve social problems; knowledge about community affairs, political issues, and the processes by which citizens effect change; knowledge about processes and strategies for change; an understanding and awareness of public and community issues.
  • Civic skills: Process and evaluate information for objectivity, accuracy, and point of view; use critical-thinking skills and ethical reasoning to make informed and responsible decisions; use verbal and written communication skills to convey ideas, facts, and opinions in an effective and reasonable manner; work cooperatively with others and develop effective team building practices; effectively advocate individual and shared interests; public speaking; contact public officials; organize meetings to insure that all participants have a voice in the process; active listening/perspective taking; competencies in achieving group goals; work together to overcome problems.
  • Civic attitudes:  Develop a sense of personal efficacy; build social trust; become confident in one’s capacity to make a difference; strike a reasonable balance between one’s own interest and the common good; value and practice civic duties.

Contact Information

Connection to Maine Initiatives
Bryan R. Pearce, Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering
Cooperating Professor of Oceanography, Animal Veterinary, and Aqua Sciences; Cooperating Research Professor in the Lobster Institute
The University of Maine

Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools: Education for Democracy