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Civil Engineering Students’ Views on Infrastructure in the U.S.

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

The Evolving Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Carol Haden Magnolia Consulting, LLC

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Dr. Carol Haden is Vice President at Magnolia Consulting, LLC, a woman-owned, small business specializing in independent research and evaluation. She has served as evaluator for STEM education projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Arizona Department of Education, among others. Her areas of expertise include evaluations of engineering education curricula and programs, informal education and outreach programs, STEM teacher development, and climate change education programs.

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Matthew W. Roberts Southern Utah University

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Dr. Roberts has been teaching structural engineering topics for 16 years. He is a professor of engineering at Southern Utah University.

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The infrastructure of the United States is exceeding its design capacity, requiring extensive maintenance and renovation. Civil engineers will lead the efforts in coming decades to revitalize the U.S. infrastructure. In particular, current students in civil engineering programs will enter the workforce and become future leaders as these efforts unfold. This paper will examine student views and attitudes about infrastructure using nationwide survey results from civil engineering students.

Students from nine institutions (n=373) completed the Infrastructure Views Survey (IVS), an instrument designed to measure attitudes about the importance of infrastructure, the current state of U.S. infrastructure, and solutions to the infrastructure challenges facing the U.S. Developed at Southern Utah University by engineering educators in collaboration with psychology department faculty and students, the IVS consists of a combination of rating scales, Likert-scale and open-ended items. Findings for this paper include responses from students in lower division civil engineering courses across four semesters beginning in the fall of 2015. Using the results from the survey, this paper will explore answers to the following research questions:

1. What are civil engineering students’ views on: a. The most and least important infrastructure components? b. Impact of infrastructure revitalization on their future careers? c. Current condition of the infrastructure? d. Willingness to consider non-traditional solutions to infrastructure challenges?

2. Are there regional differences in students’ views of infrastructure (comparing students in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West)?

3. Are there gender differences in students’ views of infrastructure?

4. How do students’ views of infrastructure change as they progress through civil engineering curricula?

The results from this study will help to better understand views and attitudes of students and will provide beneficial insights for civil engineering educators who are seeking to develop future infrastructure leaders.

Haden, C., & Roberts, M. W. (2018, June), Civil Engineering Students’ Views on Infrastructure in the U.S. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30191

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