Asee peer logo

Defining A New Engineering Course And Emphasis Area For The 21st Century Natural Resources Engineering

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.322.1 - 6.322.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Ernest Tollner

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2451

Defining a new engineering course and emphasis for the 21st Century – Natural Resources Engineering

Ernest W. Tollner University of Georgia

(paper No 39)


The goal of this paper is to evaluate the transition of the soil and water conservation agricultural engineer to the natural resource engineer considering questions of changing society, current student demographics, institutional priorities, current instructors and field of knowledge. Natural resources engineering is defined as the design of planned activities complimentary to or opposing natural or societal forces leading to modifications of the soil, water, biota and/or air environment. The problem space is on the farm, field or small watershed scale as opposed to the regional or large watershed scale. The purpose is resource development and/or environmental management. Thus, we in effect broaden the definition of natural resources from the usual oil/gas mining extraction activity to the more general crop production and urban development activities. Ancillary site development activities associated with bioremediation, bioconversion and resource extraction are included by the more general definition.

Natural resources engineers solve problems arising from nonagricultural rural population, concentration of animal production, outward advances of the “urban fringe,” and waste/residue recycling to productive land. Natural resources engineers also address traditional agricultural production problems. Pressure for improving stream water quality to meet total mass daily loadings (TMDLs) continues. The engineers meeting these demands in the future are increasingly likely to be from a non-farm background. The natural resources engineer will address field scale problems. The civil engineer will address regional scale issues. There will be numerous opportunities for natural resource and civil engineers. The current institutional priorities, incoming students, society and support the transition from the traditional soil and water agricultural engineering to natural resource engineering, as does the expanding field of knowledge. Attention must be devoted to hiring appropriately trained instructors to actualize the transition.


The main thrust of the presentation will be oriented towards presenting an analysis of the area following an accepted protocol for examining curriculum questions1. Specific problems that develop the above definition of the natural resources engineer will be presented in this context.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001. American Society of Engineering Education

Tollner, E. (2001, June), Defining A New Engineering Course And Emphasis Area For The 21st Century Natural Resources Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9072

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015