As an ABET, I got to go to the accrediting agency, the best there is. I got to learn all about how ABET teachers’ programs, like NISET, to plan for the future and set students up for a lifetime of success. One of those skills or requirements to get an ABET accreditation is to set what’s called program objective. Program objectives aren’t what the student is supposed to know at graduation. The program adjectives are what we as a school expect our graduates to do, or to be able to meet over their lifetimes of career. I want to share a couple of our program objectives with you and tell you why we choose these.
With that, program graduates will apply the knowledge and skills gained during their surveying courses to attain professional advancement within the surveying profession. What that means is, once you graduate, you’ll probably be a party chief or a drafter. Maybe a junior project manager, but probably not. You’re going to really start from ground zero, and if you started like this, like everybody else, what we expect you to do is continuously move up. I’ve had so many people contact me over the past year because they don’t have a degree, and because they don’t have that degree, they can’t get licensed as a professional surveyor. They can’t get on that path to licensure, they can’t get out of their current job role, and that’s too bad. The idea behind the first objective is that we expect you to always know where you want to go. “I want to be the owner of a surveying firm”, “I want to be the shareholder of a large shareholder company”, “I want to be the CEO in a ten-thousand person engineering team”, whatever you want to do, you want to know where you want to go, and then you say “alright, I want to be a party chief, a project manager, then a senior project manager, department head, etc.” Then, you have the degree, you’ve got the skill and the experience, and you can work your way up that ladder as fast as you want to. We love seeing graduates successful, and that’s why we have the #1 program.
Next, program graduates will be licensed surveyors and will be engaged in the professional practice of surveying engineering, with high ethical and professional responsibilities. The first part of that is we expect you to get licensed, you’re not getting this certificate or degree just for kicks, you’re doing it because you want to be a professional land surveyor. This is a multi-year process, get your education, take your FS exam, get more experience, take your PS and your state-specific, it may take you years to get where you want to be, but you’ve got to be working towards that goal every day. As you go through this process and even when you finish, we expect you to have high ethical and professional goals. Volunteering with your state society, setting up a boy scout merit badge surveying program, helping out your community when there is a disaster, you have all of these amazing skills to share. If you share all of your big skills with everybody else, then there are going to want to come in and be professional surveyors as well.
We’ve got a huge decline in the number of surveyors in this country and the way to reverse that is to show the public just how ethical and responsible you are, you are going to be a shining example of the profession to the people who don’t even know what a land surveyor is.
On top of that, program graduates will have a deep understanding of the history of the surveying profession and apply the lessons learned by our forefathers to solve contemporary geospatial problems. Right now, we are going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and then think about how long surveying has existed…thousands of years. Think about all the crazy things that have happened during that time; the black plague, revolutions, all kinds of crazy stuff, and throughout that the land surveying profession has not only endured it, but it also prospered. So, you’ve got to have a big picture thinking back to all of these centuries that have passed by and how we have endured and done very well during that time. Someone once said, “this too shall pass” and being resilient is a requirement of the program and being a successful PLS.
Last but not least, graduates will meet industry expectations in management, ethical, society, and environmental issues in the practice of surveying engineering technology. What does that mean? What that means is that as you practice as a surveyor, you are going to make decisions based on the well-being of the public, the well-being of the client, and not base your decision off of your own well-being. That is really tough for people that are so self-centered. But if you provide everything to the clients and the public that they want and need, you will be rewarded. The other part is just being a good member of society, treating other people well, picking up trash, making sure that you are giving back to your community more than you are taking. As with any kind of professional, attorney, doctor, surveyor, engineer, all of these higher careers have these expectations and I hope you will adopt them as I have.