Respecting Diversity and Inclusion – It’s the Ethical Thing to Do

August 10, 2017
ASCE Executive Director Tom Smith

At its very foundation, ASCE is an association of people coming together for the common purpose of advancing the civil engineer and the civil engineering profession. In doing so, ASCE’s diverse membership enables and protects our global quality of life. While ASCE speaks with one voice, we are made up of over 150,000 diverse members worldwide, who in turn protect the health, safety, and welfare of over 7 billion diverse people worldwide. With such an awesome and far reaching responsibility to the global population and planet, it is no wonder that diversity and inclusivity are so closely intertwined with our work and lives.

On the weekend of July 29-30, ASCE’s Board of Direction voted unanimously to add a new Canon to the ASCE Code of Ethics, codifying civil engineers’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The new Canon 8, the first revision to the ethics code in 11 years and the first addition of a new Canon in over 65 years, follows years of planning and outreach. Incorporating language from ASCE’s existing policy on Promoting Diversity and Inclusion, the Society’s Committee on Diversity & Inclusion worked closely and diligently over the past year with the Committee on Ethical Practice, the Committee on Advancing the Profession, and the Committee on Professional Conduct to carefully and thoughtfully draft language to guide the profession, drawing also on language from federal regulations, other professional codes of conduct, and the policies of engineering consulting firms and other organizations.

The new Canon 8 reads as follows:

“Engineers shall, in all matters related to their profession, treat all persons fairly and encourage equitable participation without regard to gender or gender identity, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation, or family, marital, or economic status.

a. Engineers shall conduct themselves in a manner in which all persons are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
b. Engineers shall not engage in discrimination or harassment in connection with their professional activities.
c. Engineers shall consider the diversity of the community, and shall endeavor in good faith to include diverse perspectives, in the planning and performance of their professional services.”

I hope you will agree the adoption of Canon 8 is an important achievement for ASCE, appropriately reflecting our collective ethical responsibility to promote a diverse and inclusive profession.




In case you missed them, here are some other exciting developments around the ASCE community:

Get to know your 2018 President-Elect

We are proud to welcome Robin Kemper to the leadership team at ASCE. She is the third female president-elect in the past three years, and her experience and strong dedication to promoting our profession will help to move our Society forward. I encourage all members to get to know her a little better, including her interest in fantasy novels, bodysurfing at the beach, and “judiciously” watching the Olympic Games.

Bookmark the latest in infrastructure news

Behind our 2017 Infrastructure Report Card website is a talented government relations team that will keep you updated with the latest in U.S. infrastructure news. Recent posts include news on ASCE efforts on Capitol Hill to fund critical dam programs, the latest on Senate approval of a transportation spending bill, and findings from recent polls showing Americans are willing to spend more at the pump for better infrastructure. The site is the perfect bookmark for a morning read, or you can sign up for email updates to get the news pushed to your inbox.

Upgrade to ASCE 7-16, then try the new Hazard Tool free; SEI seeks younger members for committee on next ASCE 7 update

The standard ASCE 7-16, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures is now available in print and as an e-book for purchase in the ASCE Library. The edition is the most up-to-date and coordinated loading standard for structural design on the market.

ASCE 7 Hazard Tool testing is now complete and members can access the beta version free, now through Aug. 31. The tool’s wind-speed and tsunami maps will remain free indefinitely. See how quickly it delivers seven types of hazard data to help you determine structural design loads. Yearly subscriptions to the full tool will be available after the free beta period.

We are also seeking young professionals interested in structural standards to apply for a program that will help to serve preparations for ASCE 7-22. A new Structural Engineering Institute program will help fund young professionals’ participation on SEI standards committees. Submit an application by Sept. 30 to be considered for the prestigious position by selecting “SEI” from the Institute drop down menu and then “Minimum Design Loads (ASCE/SEI 7).” Carefully indicate the committee (main or sub) for which you wish to apply.

Step up to ASCE national leadership – apply to be a candidate in 2018

Each year our Society-wide election fills governance positions at the regional and national levels. We’re fortunate to have a membership willing to serve the profession and are now looking to you to become one of the next great leaders. Current open positions include president-elect, geographic region director, technical region director, and region governor. To see if there is an opening in your Region and find out if you qualify, see the position opening notice.

Congrats to ASCE’s 2017-18 scholarship recipients; apply for next year

Fifteen student members from universities around the country have been rewarded with ASCE scholarships for the coming academic year. If you or a student you know might be deserving of a scholarship to help pay for tuition next year, learn more about entering at the scholarship page on our website, or by contacting

ASCE’s career expert stresses the importance of getting a P.E.

For a recent post in his ASCE News series, engineering career adviser Anthony Fasano draws on experience as a civil engineer to offer tips on the importance of obtaining your P.E., including the value it brings to your design capabilities, your reputation, and your overall career value. Read his Ask Anthony post, and explore an archive of his past advice.

Share your summer vacation pics of civil engineering landmarks with us

If you’re like me, you’ve experienced how ASCE’s Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks make great vacation stops. Are you seeing any this summer? Take a photo of yourself at a landmark, share it on our social media channels, and it may be featured in our gallery of landmark photos. Tag your public photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with #VisitASCELandmarks. You can find landmarks to visit in your neck of the woods with your iPhone or Android using the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card app.

1 Comment
Leave a Reply to Charles Neill (M.ASCE)

— required *

— required *