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2021 Surveying Education Award winners

NCEES recognizes the 2021 NCEES Surveying Education Award winners with a profile dedicated to each winning program. Profiles include details on how the prize money will be used and additional information provided by the schools about the programs.

$25,000 grand prize
University of Maine
School of Engineering Technology
Surveying Engineering Technology program

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure?

The prize money will be used to allow students to attend both state surveyor conventions and the national NSPS convention for professional interaction. It will also be used to replace some of our older technology (old total stations and GNSS for example) with newer technology. It will be used for advertising so working professionals will know they can attend the University of Maine completely online and satisfy their academic requirements for licensure.

For more information see:

$15,000 prize
Ferris State University
School of Engineering and Computing Technology
Surveying Engineering program

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure?

We have been able to upgrade the computer labs with new computers and A/V equipment from donations and grants. We need to upgrade the classrooms where the presentations are happening and not just the labs. This is how we will use the prize money.

A/V equipment is central to the program’s ability to display presentations in an understandable way: no missing colors and sharp text. The classrooms need new A/V equipment along with new screens. Just like utility costs and operating expenses, investment in A/V and other technologies should be continuous. While A/V is typically very stable, we still want to keep it fresh and updated with the latest collaboration tools.

In the modern university, there is an expectation of up-to-date technology. With millennials in particular, for whom technology, collaboration and flexibility are often leading components in the decision to attend university, technology can be a main driver of culture. When prospective students walk into the classroom, they should be stepping into an environment that boasts innovation both aesthetically and functionally. More students would mean more graduates advancing the profession. We have been able to keep up with new equipment through agreements but need funds for “brick and mortar” updates.

Surveying students have meetings every Tuesday at 11 a.m. and usually survey professionals come in and do a presentation on their work and their company. This is done through the Burt and Mullet Student Chapter of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), and the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS). This allows students to interact with professionals and also serves as a recruiting opportunity for the professionals and their organization. The funds will assist us in keeping the A/V equipment current for these fine presentations and allow the students to engage with professionals. The A/V equipment has been quite useful over the past year when many meetings were done remotely, thus it is very important to maintain it.

Ferris State University’s surveying program allows students to apply for licensure after graduation. According to the Michigan Occupational Code, in order to be licensed as a professional surveyor in Michigan, an individual must provide evidence of completion of a degree in professional surveying. The majority of students in the program enroll because the program enables licensure through the degree. Maintaining the hardware and software, both A/V and non-A/V, will allow the students to use the latest technology.

The Surveying program also has historical equipment. This is necessary as a surveying legacy. Students need to know how observations were done before current technology. An example would be how solar observations were done for location before GPS location.

Ferris State University Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Surveying Engineering is designed to meet the needs of all students in the program:

  1. Program graduates will apply communication skills, lifelong learning attitude, and the knowledge of mathematics and basic science to attain advancement within the surveying profession.
  2. Program graduates will exhibit creativity, leadership and team-building abilities, cultural appreciation, and an understanding of global, societal, and environmental context consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
  3. Program graduates will be engaged in the professional practice of surveying engineering with high ethical and professional responsibilities.
  4. The program graduates will strive for professional licensure.

Ferris State University additional documentation

$15,000 prize
New Mexico State University
Department of Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering
Geomatics/Surveying Engineering program

Program history: 

The surveying engineering program at New Mexico State University (NMSU) was established in 1990. The program started with input from the New Mexico Professional Surveyors (NMPS) to fulfill a legislative mandate. The program was originally accredited by ABET in 1994 under the Related Accreditation Commission. In 2000, the program changed its accreditation to EAC. In 2016 and with the support of the NMPS, New Mexico State University redesigned the program to meet current and future industry demands, thus creating the new geomatics program designed to be a 2+2 flexible program. The new program started in Fall 2017. Currently, there is significant interest in the new program as more than 40 students are now enrolled. The new program is currently accredited by the ABET-ANSAC commission.


Program’s mission statement:  

The Program Educational Objectives (PEOs) are aligned with the institution’s mission to serve the educational needs of New Mexico’s diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education, and public service. As the state’s land grant university, it is the responsibility of educational programs, especially those in engineering technology, to prepare students to enter the local and regional workforce and engage them in community service along the way.  

The program educational objectives of the geomatics program at NMSU are:

  1. NMSU Geomatics program graduates will acquire the ability to become a licensed professional surveyor or a recognized geospatial professional.
  2. NMSU Geomatics program graduates will demonstrate leadership potential by becoming actively involved with local, state, or national professional organizations and will demonstrate growth and advancement in the surveying or geospatial professions.

Program uniqueness: 

  1. The program offers two distinct paths:
    1. From a high school, a student can start at NMSU-DACC, an in-town, two-year college, and physically pursue the degree on campus.
    2. Transfer students can enroll directly in the upper division courses after their classes have officially transferred. Many articulation agreements have been made with two-year schools to facilitate this transfer process.
  2. Students can enroll in classes through one of two modes: face-to-face or online.
  3. Many connections have been established between surveying professionals, as represented in our Industry Advisory Board, and the individuals that work within the surveying program.
  4. Two full-time faculty and four adjunct faculty (from the industry) work within the program to teach, perform outreach, and recruit for the university.

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure? 

  • Promoting the program through advertisements in professional magazines, traveling to regional and national conferences and events, and visiting community colleges and K-12 schools
  • Incorporating surveying activities in summer camps hosted by the university through giving pre-college students presentations about the surveying profession, showing them our equipment, and increasing their awareness about the profession (also distributing goodies and door prizes for surveying specific recruiting activities)
  • Offer courses on more regular levels of flexibility that allow students to select class times that work best for them
  • Continue the process of transferring all geomatics courses to online delivery and the process of certifying them through Quality Matters
  • Increase our educational resources such as software, equipment, and facilities to provide more opportunities for future students

The previous award helped the program to increase its visibility, which led to increase in enrollment, more support from NMPS and industry, regional and national recognition.

$15,000 prize
Nicholls State University
Department of Applied Sciences
Geomatics program

Geomatics Mission Statement

The mission of the Geomatics program is to provide its graduates with a high-quality surveying and mapping education, to enhance their professional competency, and to advance the field of Geomatics through research and outreach. The mission includes the development of Geomatics professionals as land surveyors, construction surveyors, and mappers and planners—the core of what is needed to rebuild New Orleans and coastal Louisiana.

Nature of program

The Bachelor of Science degree program in Geomatics is designed to offer college level preparation for recent high school graduates and for those already working in the field of land surveying to meet the educational requirements for registration as a Professional Land Surveyor in the state of Louisiana. The program is based on standards necessary to attain accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure?

We believe the future of the profession depends on exposing high school students early to the various career pathways that exist by pursuing a Geomatics program. To that effort we need to have a constant working relationship with STEM-related high school teachers, counselors, and technology coordinators. These mentors are the gateway to the students who are interested and who have the prerequisite background to pursue a Geomatics-related discipline. Our first and foremost goal is to educate high school teachers on the importance of the surveying profession. We plan to host a workshop to introduce high school teachers to basic surveying, GNSS, GIS, and photogrammetry and remote sensing. We will help develop lesson plans to incorporate surveying techniques in their math and physics courses. We plan to have a one-day follow-up session either at their facility or at our labs to talk about their successes and problems incorporating surveying techniques into their lesson plans. These sessions would create a continuous working relationship between our faculty and high school teachers.

$10,000 prize
Florida Atlantic University
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatics Engineering

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure?

The NCEES Surveying Education Award will be used to improve and promote the Florida Atlantic University Bachelor of Science in Geomatics Engineering (BSGE) program by enhancing the recruitment of potential students, advancing professional licensure, and providing the most current surveying technology to the current students in the program.

One third of the award will be used to support the recruitment activities to maintain the momentum of student enrollment increase and to support student travels to regional and national conferences. Another one third of the award will be used to provide an incentive to encourage the current students to take the FS exam before their graduation. We plan to reimburse the exam fee for the students who pass the FS exam before their graduation. The remainder of the award will be used for equipment repairs and calibration to support the laboratory courses to provide the best technology and equipment to our BSGE students.

$10,000 prize
Oregon Institute of Technology
College of Engineering, Technology, and Management
Geomatics program

How will your program use the prize money to engage your students with other professionals, introduce them to both historical and new technology, and promote licensure?

Primary efforts include:

  • Fund student travel to conferences and events and encourage students to serve as conference volunteers and network with professionals. Hopefully this can be resumed as pandemic restrictions ease. Students are always well-received and make great networking connections.
  • Involve students in applied research projects and community service projects. Having a real client and producing desired deliverables captures student interest.
  • Invite professionals to visit campus and present interesting projects and describe their firm or organization and career preparation.
  • Include instruction in historical surveying technology and methods as possible. Solar and stellar observations are always popular with students, who find them “way cool”. This is an essential part of “walking in a prior surveyor’s footsteps”.
  • Notify students of summer internships and career positions and assist with student and graduate employment.
  • Expand advertising and recruiting efforts.

Bachelor of Science in Geomatics, Surveying Option

The department offers a nationally recognized professional degree program that prepares students for employment within the geomatics profession and licensure as a Professional Land Surveyor (PLS). Students enjoy small classes taught by licensed professionals that emphasize fundamental theory and problem solving in a computer-intensive curriculum. Field laboratory experiences integrated throughout the curriculum provide practical skills and offer extensive opportunities to prepare students to work in teams using state-of-the art technology. Upon completing the freshman year, students often have enough experience to obtain summer employment as a survey crew member.

Taking the Fundamentals of Surveying (FS) exam is a graduation requirement, which keeps graduates on track for licensure. The broad-based nature of the curriculum ensures that graduates will be prepared to fulfill both the traditional and contemporary roles of the profession.

The department is in the final approval stage to offer both the surveying and GIS degrees fully online.

Program objectives

Graduates of the Oregon Tech Geomatics options will:

  • Acquire the ability to obtain professional licensure and/or certifications in the geospatial industry.
  • Advance in the geospatial industry during their career by becoming involved in local, state, national, or international professional organizations.
  • Obtain industry positions requiring increased responsibility.
  • Assume responsibility for lifelong learning in professional and personal development.
  • Demonstrate readiness for graduate education and/or advanced technical education.

Oregon Tech Geomatics webpage:

Oregon Institute of Technology additional documentation

The following program’s information is not yet available.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Science and Technology
Department of Built Environment