My name is Dr. Tony Nettlemen and today we are talking about student learning outcomes. SLO’s for short are what we expect you as a NISET graduate to be able to do on the day of your graduation. You sign up, spend 12 months in our program, now you are getting your diploma. What kind of skills must you have to graduate and to be a better professional surveyor? First you will need the ability to solve surveying engineering problems in practice by applying fundamental knowledge of mathematics, statistics science, and by using modern surveying engineering techniques skills and tools.
The thing that shocks most graduates is that when you get a client or when you go to work for an employer and they say “go do this survey” they aren’t going to tell you what to bring, to make sure you bring a total station, and to make sure you have a tape. Do you understand if you can’t see a point, you’re going to have to use a bearing intersection to calculate an invisible point? They don’t tell you this stuff, they just say, “go do it” and then you’re off on your own and you’re going to have to rely on your skills, your knowledge, and experience from school, to solve these problems. It’s going to be easy, so you’ve got to be able to think on your feet to produce good material and good data without having someone follow behind you and tell you what to do.
Another one of my favorites is an ability to communicate technical surveying related materials in both written format and oral presentations. Now that may sound like something that you would have to do in a school presentation but really, you have to do these things all the time for your clients because if someone calls up and says they need a survey, you do the survey and give them the survey plaque. You request that you want $2,000 please,”$2,000 what did you do?” You may have to communicate the value of the survey and the requirements of the survey to your clients who may have never met a land surveyor in their entire life. Same thing for oral communications, someone calls you on the phone and you answer “hello” that’s not going to be very friendly and people are going to think you’re unprofessional. Instead you pick up the phone and say, “Good afternoon Dr. Nettlemen, thank you for calling Johnson’s Surveying”, you have this ability to not only communicate well with professionals and non-professionals, but also you will be able to convey information. Where is the boundary corner? why do you think it’s there? You say, “well I found 3 independent sources of information and they all confirmed the same place.
It doesn’t matter how good of a technical surveyor you are, if you can’t communicate your findings to laymen, or other surveyors or engineers, you’re going to have a tough time in the profession. Finally, an ability to function within multidisciplinary teams as leader, co-workers, and employees. A lot of survey owners are loaners, we enjoy owning our own companies because no one tells us what to do, we enjoy working on one-man field crew teams because we get to enjoy the great outdoors in peace without someone talking to us all the time. But that’s not going to get you very far in a lot of situations. I think of a lot of examples when I work as a land surveyor, I deal with surveyors, engineers, and a lot of attorneys. These attorneys a lot of times have very high views of themselves, and sometimes low views of non-attorneys, so you’ve got to be able to communicate and to work as a team, get a game plan. The attorney has to file the complaint, the surveyor has to do the plaque, the client has to pay the money and be updated when things change. If you can’t operate on a team, then you’re’ going to have a very tough life ahead of you. So, in addition to just doing surveying, it’s important to be able to work together and to communicate with one another.