Civil Engineering Seminar

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The Essay Teams for Spring 2020 Are Shown at this LINK:

Often, students have confusion about the
Josephson Six Pillars of Character and Ethical Decision-Making Model.
These PDFs May Help Clarify Some of These Issues

Six Pillars of Character Summary

Josephson's Ethical Decision-Making Model (Annotated)




In the administration of CE-401, Let's apply a healthy dose
of Common Sense to our deliberations and discussions,
despite reports of the passing of Common Sense.


before proceeding with the Seminar.




How to Do Things with Words - John Langshaw Austin

John L. Austin was one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century. The William James Lectures presented Austin 's conclusions in the field to which he directed his main efforts on a wide variety of philosophical problems. These talks became the classic How to Do Things with Words .







Week 12 is the first week of the Dispute Resolution Workshop (DRW). The matrices below show the distribution into party groups (Architects, Geotechnical Engineers, and Contractors) and negotiating groups (#1, #2 and #3).

This exercise is important because it is worth 120 total points. Your grade for this exercise will depend upon your ability to resolve the dispute and the terms of the resolution you agree upon. I will also factor in participation this semester into the grade calculation by deducting up to 15 points, potentially each week, for no participation in strategy sessions. ENGAGE THE PROCESS!!!

If you achieve any settlement, then 1/2 of the points are awarded (60 Points). The remaining 60 points are awarded based on the terms of the resolution. If you "give up the farm" to simply make the dispute go away, that will not bode well for the final 60 points. If you fail to resolve the dispute, then the score is 0 points.

The schedule is also different this week. You can engage in strategy at your convenience throughout the week until Midnight Thursday. Active negotiations will occur for a 2 hour period coinciding with our usual class meeting time. Section 1 from 8 AM to 9:50 AM and Section 2 from 11 AM to 12:59 PM.

When you read The Case, read it very closely because the facts are densely packed, and the better you understand the facts, the better you will do in this exercise. The leader role for this exercise is NOT to arrive at consensus positions but to keep the strategy sessions focused and moving forward, and during negotiations to take the lead for your party in the negotiations. That does NOT mean that members of the party who are not the designated leader should not post and participate. Each of you should also participate in negotiations because when your team settles this dispute, you will be bound by the terms of settlement your group reaches. Make it yours! However, I will be looking for affirmation from the group's leader that all members of his/her group agree with the terms of the settlement.

This exercise is designed for face to face negotiations. Bring questions forward as they occur. Better to ask and get an obvious answer than not ask and proceed in a confused manner. If you have a question that should be addressed in a "confidential manner" during negotiations, email the question to me rather than post the question in the public thread.

My experience has been that this exercise is one that prior students have valued most when the seminar is finished. I regret that we cannot interact in person to do it this time. Let's join together to make the experience as valuable for you as it has been in the past. That depends on YOU!!!

I will be wearing two hats, a facilitator and the Owner. As facilitator, I will answer questions, and try to keep you focused without chasing rabbits. As the owner, I must approve any final resolution of the dispute, and the Architects must present the terms of settlement to the owner and respond to the owners's questions to gain that approval.

As Owner, I have a statement to make, and it is the last page of the reading material for the week. When you read this statement, imagine the amplitude and energy of the speaker by the font size and boldness in the written form.



Section 1

Section 2



Non-bold Black Font -

Student has not made a timely post in the Group's Discussion Thread for the Question, or

The Group Leader has not posted the Group's consensus in the Group's Discussion Thread for the question, with a loss of 5 points for the leader.

Bold Black Font -

Student has made a timely post in the Group's Discussion Thread for the Question or

The Group Leader has posted a timely consensus for the Group in the Group's Discussion Thread for the Question.

Red Font - Student has not made a timely post in the Group's discussion Thread for the Question with loss of points on the question:

  • Non-bold Red Font = A post occurs AFTER the deadline for initial posting has passed but BEFORE the group leader posts the group's consensus with a loss of 20% of the points for that question


  • Bold Red Font = A post occurs AFTER the leader posts the group's consensus for the question with a loss of 60% of the points for that question.


  • Non-Bold Red Italicized Font = No post occurs by the student on the question with a loss of 100% of the points for that question



Follow the links below to specific information


Links Related To Administration of CE 401



Important Information About CE-401


Discussion Question Procedures

Essay Assignment

Consensus Building

Writing Tips and Suggestions

History of CE 401


Links Related To Professions and The Professions' Role

Qualifications Based Selection (QBS)

Attributes of a Profession

Lifelong Learning

Public Policy Issues and Civil Engineering

Breaking News of Interest To Civil Engineers


Links Related To Failures and Whistle Blowing


Whistle Blowing

Nice Guys Finish Last Follow-Up: (Challenger/Alaska Pipeline/Hanford)

Whistle Blowers In The News

Engineering and Engineered Construction Failures

Hyatt Regency, Kansas City, Missouri

Other Failures


Links Related To Ethics, Ethical Duties, and Ethical Decision Making


Ethics, Ethical Decision Making:

Meet Michael Josephson

Josephson Institute Materials

ASCE's Ethics Training Materials

Other Ethics Resources

Ethics Theories and False Theories

Relevant Code of Ethics Considerations (Link Currently Inactive)

Global Principles of Professional Conduct


Links Related To Engineering Ethics Case Studies

Incident At Morales

Truesteel Affair

Gilbane Gold

Testing Water ... and Ethics (Link Currently Inactive)


Links Related To The Law, Legal Duties, and Dispute Avoidance/Resolution

The Legal System and The Law

Expert Witnesses

Tort Reform

Stella Awards

Unjust Enrichment

Loss Prevention Resources

Dispute Resolution Resources

Risk Management

Construction Jobsite Safety


I Love This Definition Of Engineer


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