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A Civil Infrastructure System Perspective - Not Just the Built Environment

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Infrastructure Professionals

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Douglas Schmucker P.E. University of Utah

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Dr. Schmucker has 20 years experience in teaching and consulting. Focused on high quality teaching following the T4E, ExCEEd, and NETI teaching models, he currently is a full-time teaching professional with a focus on practice, project, and problem-based teaching methodologies.

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Joshua Lenart University of Utah

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Dr. Joshua Lenart is an Associate Instructor with the Communication, Leadership, Ethics, and Research (CLEAR) Program at the University of Utah where he teaches technical communications for the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Rhetoric and Writing Studies and an M.A. in English from Montana State University. His research focuses on land management policy in two discrete areas. The first relates to civil infrastructure projects and landscape-scale impacts on habitat, community resilience, and long-term land use planning; the second involves the utilization, conservation, and management of big game wildlife resources.

For the past five years he has led various transdisciplinary teaching and research projects examining land and wildlife resource management conflicts vis-à-vis public policy, assessing stakeholder needs and desires, resource analysis, and collective impact engagement. Currently, he is working closely with several local and national organizations to research and rally opposition against the transfer of federal public lands to state governance.

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Steven J. Burian P.E. University of Utah

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Dr. Steven J. Burian is an associate professor in the Urban Water Group in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Utah. Dr. Burian’s career spans more than a decade during which he has worked in design engineering, as a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, as a professor at the University of Arkansas and the University of Utah, and as a director of an engineering design and sustainability consulting firm he co-founded. Dr. Burian received a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master's in Environmental Engineering and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from The University of Alabama.
Dr. Burian has expertise related to the engineering of sustainable urban water resources systems, including water supply, storm water management, flood control, and waste water collection. He has taught courses in sustainable urban water engineering, storm water management and design, water management, professional practice and design, sustainable infrastructure, hydrology, hydraulics, sustainable design, flood modeling, and hydrologic field measurements. Specialty areas of research and consulting include integrated urban water management, low-impact development, green infrastructure design, storm water management, flood risk modeling, vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies for urban water systems, and the water-energy nexus. Steve’s research projects have been funded by National Laboratories, EPA, NSF, DOD, DOE, State Departments of Transportation, and Private Industry. His work has resulted in more than 50 authored or co-authored peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Burian currently is an Associate Director of the Global Change and Sustainability Center and the Co-Director of Sustainability Curriculum Development at the University of Utah. He is actively involved with several professional societies including ASCE, AWRA, AWWA, WEF, AGU, AMS, and ASEE and is currently chairing the ASCE Rainwater Harvesting technical committee. Dr. Burian is a registered professional engineer in Utah.

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Amir Mohaghegh Motlagh University of Utah

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Amir is a research associate and an instructor in Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah. Amir receives a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering from Shiraz University in Iran, a Master's in Environmental Engineering from University of Toledo, and a Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from University of Utah.

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Based on a perceived need within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah to increase faculty and student awareness of 1) the national infrastructure crisis and 2) a departmental-wide pedagogical approach to engineering instruction with a more holistic, global understanding of infrastructure systems, three faculty members attended the 2nd Annual Infrastructure Education Workshop on Pedagogies of Engagement in Infrastructure Classrooms. Hosted by the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E), over 30 national faculty members participated in a three-day, best-practices teaching seminar and workshop held on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah (May 2015). One of the primary goals of this and subsequent workshops is to grow a community of practice focused on creating learning modules to populate an open-source teaching and research database on infrastructure education.

This paper discusses our use of the workshop materials including modifications made to them to fit our local environment. The paper describes additional activities inspired by and/or designed to complement the workshop materials. Crucial questions for our project team included: What does infrastructure education mean and how does it differ from civil engineering education? How do we teach it? And, how do we assess student achievement within it? The work reported here is, in essence, a pilot study of initial efforts to answer these questions. In this process, we both broadened and deepened our understanding of what the infrastructure perspective means and how it informs the delivery and assessment of a baccalaureate program. Part of our assessment of this pilot study includes descriptions and analyses of student deliverables by both direct and indirect methods.

Schmucker, D., & Lenart, J., & Burian, S. J., & Mohaghegh Motlagh, A. (2016, June), A Civil Infrastructure System Perspective - Not Just the Built Environment Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26274

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