Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Community Engagement Division
In the spring of 2019, a community service learning project was incorporated into three sections of a senior-level Geotechnical Engineering Lab course at University “X” for the purpose of meeting community support and student educational goals. The project involved an evaluation of an earthen dam for a neighborhood located directly across the banks of an adjacent coastal river from campus of University “X”. The neighborhood surrounds a three-acre freshwater lake, impounded by an earthen dam, including an overflow structure and spillway, which outfalls directly into a tidal creek of the nearby river. The dam is 70-years old, showing signs of age, and as a result, has become a growing community concern specifically with regard to the long-term viability and sustainability of the lake, which functions as the central visual feature of the well-established neighborhood. Students worked closely with community leaders, conducted site visits, collected soil samples, performed laboratory analyses, evaluated results, and prepared a final report with recommendations for repair and improvement of the earthen dam. Students received technical support from seven local geotechnical professional engineers and the professor served as faculty advisor for the project. After receiving a final report in May 2019, the community has begun to use recommendations as a guide for systematically addressing repairs and improvements to the dam. This service learning project provided a great opportunity for academic enrichment and intellectual engagement where students applied their classroom knowledge to benefit the public in working to develop an engineering-based plan needed to solve a consequential real-world engineering problem in the local community. The project also challenged students to consider a broader range of technical and non-technical inputs, including meaningful engagement with community leaders. This paper will provide a summary of partnership development, motivation for the project, student learning activities, assessment of educational outcomes, lessons learned, identification of the crucial elements for successful use of service learning projects within an undergraduate engineering curriculum, conclusions and suggestions for future research.
Ghanat, S. T., & Davis, W. J., & Nale, D. D., & Burke, R. D. (2020, June), Engagement in Practice: Adopting Service Learning and Community Engagement as a High Impact Teaching Strategy in Geotechnical Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34532
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