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Core Concepts and Learning Outcomes in an Introductory Transportation Engineering Course: An Evaluation of Pilot Implementations

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching Transportation and Geotechnical Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.349.1 - 25.349.15



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Paper Authors

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Rhonda K. Young University of Wyoming

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Kristen L. Sanford P.E. Lafayette College Orcid 16x16


Shashi S. Nambisan P.E. Iowa State University

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Since 2007, Shashi Nambisan has been the Director, Institute for Transportation (InTrans) and a professor of civil engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa. He previously served on the faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for more than 17 years. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Nevada. One of Nambisan’s passions is the development of the future transportation workforce. He enjoys working with students. His advisees have developed successful professional careers at universities or in the private and public sectors. Many of them serve in leadership positions in professional societies. He has taught 18 different undergraduate and graduate courses related to transportation, as well as undergraduate capstone design courses. Nambisan also has been very active in leadership roles of several professional societies and organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and the Transportation Research Board (TRB). His current appointments include those as a member of the Educational Activities Committee, which reports to ASCE’s Board of Direction; Chair of the ASEE Civil Engineering Division; member of the Executive Committee of CUTC; and member of the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee-CUTC Liaison Group.

For his contributions as an educator, researcher, and leader, Nambisan has received several awards and honors. Among the awards and honors he has received are the following: a proclamation by the Governor of Nevada designating Jan. 31, 2007 as the “Professor Shashi Nambisan Day” in recognition of his leadership role in and contributions to enhancing transportation safety, and the Harry Reid Silver State Research award in 2005.

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Core Concepts and Learning Outcomes in an Introductory Transportation Engineering Course: An Evaluation of Pilot ImplementationsOver the last two and a half years, about 20 transportation engineering educators have beenworking collaboratively on an initiative to develop and implement a set of core concepts andlearning outcomes for a typical introductory transportation engineering course. This group hasdeveloped knowledge tables for the core concepts associated with traffic operations,transportation planning, geometric design, transportation finance, transportation economics,traffic safety, transit, non-motorized transport, and human factors. Further, the group hasidentified five ways of being that, together with the core concepts, form the foundation for 13course-level learning outcomes.The initiative includes faculty members from 13 different colleges and universities across theUnited States. The development process has consisted of regular conference calls (typically on amonthly basis during the academic year), augmented by face-to-face meetings a couple of timesa year. Efforts were made to broaden involvement by key stakeholders. For this, the groupdisseminated its efforts and their outcomes at the Annual Meetings of the TransportationResearch Board in 2010 and 2011, and at the 2010 and 2011 ASEE Annual Conferences.Further, in August, 2010 the group held a workshop and conversation circle at the ITE Meetingwith the specific goal of involving practicing engineers in the process. These activities led to theInstitute of Transportation Engineers Education Council establishing a committee to formallyrecognize the value of this initiative.This paper builds on the previously efforts to assess pilot implementations in the introductorytransportation engineering course at three different institutions. The institutions have classenrollments ranging from 15 to 75. Preliminary results from one of the institutions werepresented at the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference; this paper adds the results from two additionalinstitutions, assesses the efficacy of the approach comparatively as well as individually, andidentifies areas of strength and weakness. Finally, the paper discusses how the results of the pilotimplementations are informing the efforts of the group in enhancing the approach, and for futureimplementation efforts.

Young, R. K., & Sanford, K. L., & Nambisan, S. S. (2012, June), Core Concepts and Learning Outcomes in an Introductory Transportation Engineering Course: An Evaluation of Pilot Implementations Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21107

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