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From The Battlefield To The Classroom: Bringing Leadership As A Civil Engineer In Iraq Into The Classroom

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Advances in Civil Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.626.1 - 9.626.11

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Paper Authors

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Paul Moody

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

Session 2004-1214

From the Battlefield to the Classroom: Bringing Leadership as a Civil Engineer in Iraq into the Classroom Captain Paul Moody United States Military Academy


In May 2003, I had just relinquished the guidon, the symbol of command authority and responsibility for a 130 soldier combat heavy construction company, in Iraq. I was preparing to make a huge transition in my life and career. I was leaving the dust, heat and eternal threat of violence in post-war Iraq to teach civil engineering at the Nation’s First Department of Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

West Point’s mission is “to educate, train, and inspire” cadets to become leaders of character in the U.S. Army. The students here are unique in that they know their first job will be leading soldiers as a second lieutenant in the Army. Following graduation and commissioning, new lieutenants attend school for their branch, and then they arrive at their first duty station, eager to begin as platoon leaders.

As an instructor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, I have a primary responsibility to educate the students in civil engineering. All of the faculty and staff have the additional mission of inspiring students as they aspire to become Army leaders. After eight years of leadership and engineering experience in the Army, I began the Instructor Summer Workshop (ISW) in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and the process of becoming a new instructor at the Academy. I learned that I would be teaching fluid mechanics, which I had last seen in the classroom over nine years before. ISW was a critical opportunity for me to not only relearn fluid mechanics, but to learn the fundamentals of teaching.

My military experience as a deployed company commander in war-time Iraq made me unique among the other new faculty. To be truly successful as an instructor, I need to not only convey the course material, but inspire the students through my experience as an Army engineer and leader. Leadership and experience can be worked into the course of instruction, exercises and design problems, helping students see how their developmental experience in the classroom will apply when they begin their career in the Army.

As a construction company commander, I saw the impact that officers with a strong engineering background had in the Army. My engineering background was critical to successfully tackling diverse missions, including rapid runway repair, road construction, and obstacle reduction. This experience has helped me create the bridge between classroom instruction and engineering practice and engage the students in the classroom. Establishing the

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Moody, P. (2004, June), From The Battlefield To The Classroom: Bringing Leadership As A Civil Engineer In Iraq Into The Classroom Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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