What is FERL?
The U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering (DFCE) is committed to graduating Air
Force officers with the leadership skills, motivation, and
technical competence to be future leaders in the Air Force. To
achieve these ends, DFCE implemented a systems approach to
learning that bridges the gap between theory and practice; a
concept that has evolved into the “construct first, design
later” approach to engineering education.
By being exposed to actual hands-on
experiences in surveying, construction methods, and construction
materials at the Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory (FERL), the “construct first, design later”
approach provides students with a solid foundation for learning
scientific theory and engineering design principles in more
advanced courses of the civil and environmental engineering
curriculum. The “construct first” approach is the primary focus
of Civil Engineering 351 (CivEngr 351), the entry-level course for
cadets majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the
U.S. Air Force Academy.
How is the course
CivEngr 351 is an integrated, two-phase program over a five week
period. The first phase is Operation Civil Engineering Air Force
(OPS CEAF). Students spend two weeks at an operational Air Force
base in order to gain an appreciation of Air Force missions,
support functions, and civil engineering capabilities. The
second phase is FERL. During this three-week phase, students
“deploy” to the FERL training area to perform hands-on
activities in surveying, construction methods, and construction
materials under the supervision and guidance of mentors.
Students will gain experience working and living under field
conditions as they utilize some of the readiness assets used in
the Operational Air Force.
The FERL concept is now in its 21st year of implementation. The
program could not be successful without the contributions of
Active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian personnel who serve as
mentors for the cadets. Mentors provide functional expertise in
their specialties and serve as role models in an advisory
capacity. During FERL, mentors work alongside cadets on
activities such as concrete placement, roadway construction,
surveying, heavy equipment operations, power production,
welding, and wood frame construction. These tasks and more were
selected to provide cadets with broad exposure to the Civil
Engineering career field.
We will begin accepting mentor applications
for FERL 2014 on 06 January 2014.