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CE Curriculum Changes


The department has made some changes to the curriculum we would like to share. During our 2011 summer Board of Advisors meeting, the department and the Board developed recommendations for improving student learning about sustainable design. We have required sustainable design applications in senior design for years, but had not previously incorporated formal learning into the freshman-junior years. The recommendations addressed incorporation of sustainable design throughout the curriculum, including addition of a sophomore year course. Last spring, Drs. Mueller Price and Aidoo added introduction to sustainable design in our freshman design course. This fall, those same students were required to complete a 2 credit sophomore Sustainable Civil Engineering Design course. Drs. Mueller Price and Robinson developed the course content, with a focus on understanding the basic science behind sustainable design principles and rational application to a project assignment. All of the faculty members are working to make sustainable design a more formal consideration in required sophomore and junior design courses. A recurring element in the learning is that the three pillars of sustainable design - social, environmental and economic - have always been a part of good quality engineering design, but that our application these three pillars to design processes and decisions is becoming more sophisticated, and we must better understand fundamental principles to be able to make good decisions.

We have also slightly revised our senior design course. In the past, senior design was an 8 credit class offered over three continuous quarters, with the grade for all 8 credits given in the spring. We have now divided senior design into 4 different two credit components and distributed the learning among more faculty members to all the students to take better advantage of faculty expertise for designs. At this stage, the faculty members are excited about the students' progress on their projects and optimistic about the final products.

Similar to last year, three of our seniors (Chaela Jean, Justin Kerns and Priscilla Magee) teamed with three students from Ghana to complete a design of an inland port facility in Ghana.  Those six students presented and defended their design to a team of experts in Ghana recently, and are hopeful for a positive outcome from that defense. Although the three Ghana students are wrapping up their own design work, our RH students will continue the rest of this year to detail and extend design of the facility to include some "value added" elements in the final design. Our students are shown above during the defense.