The First AECEF General Assembly

by Dr. Jiri Vaska,

The First AECEF General Assembly was held in Prague in September 25 - 27, 1995 on the occasion of the First AECEF International Symposium Education for Civil and Environmental Engineering and Surveying.

1. Participants of The First AECEF General Assembly :

Representatives of 22 member Universities attended The First AECEF General Assembly :

Country Number University Name
Belarus 1. Mogilev Mechanical Eng.Institute Prof.I.Sazonov
Canada 2. University of New Brunswick Prof.R.M.Francis
Czech Republic 3. Faculty of Civil Engineering, CTU Prague Prof.V.Kristek
Dr.J. Vaska
Denmark 4. The Eng.College Odense Prof.M.Federau
Finland 5. Helsinki University of Technology Prof.Aarne Jutila
Germany 6. Fachhochschule Oldenburg Prof.Dana Paral
Hungary 7. Faculty of Civil Engineering, TU Budapest Prof.A.Detrekoi
Lithuania 8. Vilnius Technical University Prof.A.K.Kvedaras
Poland 9. Technical University of Szczecin Dr.J.Piasecki
Portugal 10. University of Porto Prof.J.M.P.F. Lemos
Russian Federation 11. Moscow State University of Civil Engineering Prof.V.Karelin
Slovak Republic 12. Faculty of Civil Engineering, TU Kosice Prof.I.Ňenitkov▀
13. University of Transport and Communications, Zilina Prof.J.Ben└at
14. Faculty of Civil Engineering
Slovak Technical University Bratislava
Sweden 15. Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg Dr.S.Haggstrom
Ukraine 16. Lviv Polytechnical Institute Prof.M.Stasiuk
17. Kiev State Tech.
University of Construction and Architecture
United Kingdom 18. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Dr.D.Fordyce
19. University of Wales, Cardiff Dr.B.I.G.Barr
20. City University London Prof.K.S.Virdi
USA 21. University of Florida Prof.Z.Herbsman
22. Iowa State University Prof.W.W.Sanders

2. The Agenda of The First AECEF General Assembly

The Agenda of The First AECEF General Assembly included following items :

  1. Report of the AECEF President
  2. Report of the Secretary-General for the period September 1992 to August 1995
  3. Reports of the Chairmen of the AECEF Working Committees
  4. Ratification of applications of universities desiring to become participating universities of AECEF
  5. Discussion on the presented Reports
  6. Election of the AECEF President, Board Members and the Secretary-General
  7. Consideration of proposals and discussion on further development of the AECEF
  8. Other topics (with the permission of the Chair)

3. Report of the AECEF President

President AECEF Professor Ji░Ţ Witzany opened the First AECEF General Assembly by the speech that follows :

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to present a brief report on the activities of the Association of European Civil Engineering Faculties with the participation of Civil Engineering faculties from the USA and Canada.

The AECEF was established in 1992, shortly after the principal political changes in Central and East European countries created a basis for the development of conditions favourable for international co-operation. The situation required the establishment of new institutions and structures promoting and guaranteeing this co-operation. At that time, Europe, more than at any other time, lived for the ideal of a unified Europe and the foundation of a new Union of European States. In spite of numerous difficulties caused by different cultural, historical, economic, and political developments in different European countries, we must continue the effort and strive to achieve an effective co-ordination and collaboration of countries not only in Europe, but all over the world. Nowadays, this is not a question of mere political decision, it is a question of further development and the existence of humanity. Scientific and technological progress surpasses the borders of individual countries, as rapidly developing information and communication systems prevent the creation of closed communities and states which would exist without links to their environment and relations with it. The AECEF┤s main goals include the idea to contribute to this process. It is often difficult and requires patient and honest work from its members.

Over the first three years of existence, the AECEF devoted much energy to informing universities and other institutions of higher education, which provide instruction in civil engineering and surveying, about the establishment of the Association, its goals and activities in order to establish an active co-operation and to invite other schools to join the Association. The number of participating members of the AECEF rose from the original nineteen to thirty-nine over that period. A number of personal meetings and working contacts were arranged.

The preparing and issuing of an information Newsletter is one of the important activities of the AECEF secretariat. The Newsletter is sent to between eighty and hundred universities.

In 1994, a demanding and extensive research programme of curricula and study plans of civil engineering and surveying began. Thirty-nine universities and higher educational institutions took part in responding to distributed questionnaires. A detailed report on the partial results of this first research stage was presented at the symposium organised by IGIP/SEFI in Prague in September 1994. It was also published in the Newsletter. It is undoubtedly the first time such an extensive research project has been undertaken involving not only West European, US, and Canadian universities, but also institutions of higher education from Central and East Europe, i.e. from countries which remained part of the closed political, economic, and military block for a period of fifty years.

In 1994, intensive work was started on the preparation of the first international AECEF Symposium which is now underway here in Prague and whose principal aim is the exchange of ideas and experience, future development and co-ordination of curricula and study plans of civil, environmental engineering, and surveying at diverse universities and technical colleges.

Over the last three-year period, formal contacts with major institutions world-wide were established. The AECEF sent out information about its establishment and goals to numerous international institutions, such as:

  • SEFI (European Society for Engineering Education)
  • IGIP (International Society for Engineering Education)
  • the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE - USA)
  • AHECE (Association of Higher Education in Civil Engineering, Russian Federation)
  • the Secretariat of the European Community (Brussels, Belgium)
  • the Secretariat of NATO (Brussels, Belgium)
  • the Secretariat of UNESCO (Paris, France)
  • the Secretariat of UATI (Paris, France)
  • the International Association of Civil Engineering Students (Vienna, Austria)
  • the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).

In accordance with the AECEF's Statutes, the Secretariat of the Association was set up and provided with necessary equipment to establish and maintain relations with members and other universities through correspondence and an electronic bulletin entitled CTU News.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me move on now to say a few words about the Associationňs future development and activities.

It is quite evident that the coming period will be characterised by a growing international co-operation in all fields, and that consequently institutions participating in this development will become increasingly important. It is in the nature and commission of universities of higher education to play an important role within this process. This requires a certain degree of co-ordination of educational systems, curricula, and study plans accompanied by increasing exchanges of teachers, researchers and students. Such co-ordination in the field of education, however, should be based upon respecting and safeguarding the characteristic and specific features of each university as they reflect both the universityňs history and the cultural traditions of the respective nation. In keeping with the principles of the academic and university environment, we should promote an exchange of experience and information, creating conditions favourable for discussion and for the encounter of opinions on the scope, level, and orientation of the education of highly qualified specialists in civil and environmental engineering, and surveying, and also in economics and management in civil engineering and in related branches.

The AECEF, as a voluntary international organisation currently involved with thirty-nine universities and higher educational institutions which provide instruction in civil engineering and surveying, will focus primarily on the following :

  • the creation of a forum for discussion, thus contributing to the organisation of meetings of university members at symposiums, seminars and colloquiums,

  • the provision of information on the activities of different universities and educational institutions through an information bulletin and through the computer network,

  • the processing of analyses of curricula and study plans from individual universities and educational institutions resulting in formulating subsequent conclusions and recommendations,

  • the establishment of a bank of curricula and study plans which are in use at universities and higher educational institutions with the instruction in civil engineering as well as of other data relating to their activities in this field.

Major outputs of the above-mentioned global activities will be as follows :

  • the determination of basic requirements for the education of civil engineers in the first decade of the 21st century,

  • the recommendation for European studies within the framework of member universities of the AECEF, compatibility of civil engineering study plans and the length of study, the compatibility of educational systems and structures of studies, as well as the requirements on civil engineering knowledge of graduates, and the unification of academic degrees,

  • the influence of social. economic and legislative factors on civil engineering study plans,

  • the requirements for the education of civil engineers in the field of systems engineering and environmental engineering,

  • the consequences of global geopolitical changes and their influence on the development of civil engineering education.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Symposium will be made available for the pertinent governmental and non-governmental agencies in the field of civil engineering.

The results of this work together with other activities of the Association should be presented at the Second International Symposium of the AECEF in 1998.

It is expected that the circulation of the AECEF Newsletter will increase so that it will be issued at least three times a year. Moreover, regular monthly information will be provided by means of e-mail.

Further, great efforts should be given to the direct contacts with all international as well as nation-wide organisations whose activities and jurisdiction directly influence the content, orientation and studies of civil and environmental engineering and surveying.

The fulfilment of these objectives is not achievable without a certain financial support given by the members of the AECEF. Their active and effective co-operation is also expected. The organisation of the secretariat of the AECEF will serve the above-mentioned intentions.

4. Elections of the AECEF Board

Participants of the First AECEF General Assembly elected AECEF President, Board members and Secretary-General for the next three-year term (1995 - 1998) :

AECEF President : Prof.Jiri Witzany CTU Prague, Fac. of Civil Eng.
Board members : Dr.B.I.G.Barr University of Wales, Cardiff
Prof.Akos Detrekoi TU Budapest, Fac. of Civil Eng.
Prof.Ralph M.Francis University of New Brunswick
Prof.J.M.P.F.Lemos University of Porto, Porto
Prof.Alfredo V.Soeiro University of Porto, Porto
Prof.P.Vainiunas Vilnius Technical University
Prof.K.S.Virdi City University London
Secretary-General : Dr.Jiri Vaska CTU Prague, Fac. of Civil Eng.

5. The most important conclusions of The First AECEF General Assembly and recommendations for future activities of the AECEF :

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