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Infrastructure Education in Unprecedented Times: Strengthening a Community of Practice

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Industry and Practice Topics

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37335

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Kristen L. Sanford P.E. Lafayette College Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7115-0119

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Dr. Kristen Sanford is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College. Her expertise is in sustainable civil infrastructure management and transportation systems, and transportation engineering and infrastructure education. She teaches a variety of courses related to transportation and civil infrastructure as well as engineering economics, and for the last ten years she chaired Lafayette's interdisciplinary Engineering Studies program. Dr. Sanford currently serves on the Transportation Research Board Committee on Workforce Development and Organizational Excellence (formerly Education and Training). She previously has served as chair of the ASEE’s Civil Engineering Division, vice-chair of the ASCE Infrastructure Systems Committee, and as a member of several other American Society of Civil Engineers’ education-related committees as well as several other Transportation Research Board technical committees. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, and her B.S.E. from Duke University.

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Philip J. Parker P.E. University of Wisconsin - Platteville

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Philip Parker, Ph.D., P.E., is Associate Dean in the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He is co-author of the textbook "Introduction to Infrastructure" published in 2012 by Wiley. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering and his M.S. and PhD in Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University.

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Matthew W. Roberts Southern Utah University

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Dr. Roberts has been teaching structural engineering topics for 19 years. He is a professor of engineering at Southern Utah University.

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Claudia Mara Dias Wilson New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

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Dr. Claudia Mara Dias Wilson is an Associate Professor in civil engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech). She earned her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the Florida State University. Although she specialized in earthquake mitigation and the development of control algorithms for semi-active dampers to reduce seismic vibrations on buildings, her research interests are broad and include topics in structural engineering, earthquake engineering, construction management, transportation engineering, and engineering education. She also advises the Student Chapters of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at New Mexico Tech.

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Michael R. Penn University of Wisconsin - Platteville

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Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Lead author of the textbook, Introduction to Infrastructure: An Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez Colorado State University

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Rodolfo Valdes-Vasquez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University. He is committed to advancing research and teaching in the sustainability of infrastructure projects. He believes that educating the next generation of professionals will play a pivotal role in making sustainability a standard practice.

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Frederick Paige Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3380-6444

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Dr. Frederick (“Freddy”) Paige is the Assistant Director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research and an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech in the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program. Dr. Paige’s main scholarship goal is to create the knowledge needed to develop an informed public that lives in a sustainable built environment. Previous work with a variety of utility companies, sustainability non-profits, and educational institutions has provided Dr. Paige with a versatile toolkit of knowledge and skills needed to address a diverse range of civil engineering issues. His main area of interest is high efficiency homes and sustainable communities. Dr. Paige completed his PhD in Civil Engineering at Clemson University, where he also received his MS and BS degrees in Civil Engineering.

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Abstract

CIT-E (the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education) was founded in 2013, catalyzed by a National Science Foundation grant. During the course of the grant, faculty members from around the country gathered for six workshops to co-create an entire model introduction to infrastructure course. These materials have been peer reviewed and are available at no charge to anyone who wants to use and/or adapt them.

During the summer of 2020, CIT-E sponsored two workshops. These virtual workshops were designed to 1) sustain and build on the community of practice initially established through CIT-E, and 2) engage faculty in creating and adapting materials relating civil infrastructure and the two topics that dominated the news in 2020: Black Lives Matter specifically (systemic racism generally) and COVID-19 (pandemics generally). Many CEE faculty have limited understanding of how infrastructure behaves as a system; the relationship between infrastructure and pandemics; and the relationship between infrastructure and systemic racism. Thus, faculty need resources, including networks of supportive colleagues, to help design these concepts into their courses.

The 2-hour long Model Introductory Infrastructure Course Adaptation workshop, designed for people new to the CIT-E materials, was held in late July. Participants were asked to explore the CIT-E materials in advance, and in the workshop they worked in small teams to adapt a particular lesson of interest for use in an upcoming course. The 6-hour long (2 hours per day over 3 days) Infrastructure Education in Unprecedented Times workshop was held the following week. Participants learned about the intersections of infrastructure, pandemics, and systemic racism and formed teams to co-develop course materials on these two topics, to be used in the 2020/2021 academic year. These lessons are in the final stages of development and are also being made available through the CIT-E repository. To facilitate wider adoption and use of the materials, as well as to continue building and strengthening a community of practice for educators, CIT-E is holding monthly virtual “Helpline” sessions in which anyone interested can gather by Zoom to learn more about the CIT-E materials, share ideas and resources for teaching and learning about civil infrastructure, and brainstorm with colleagues on how to address challenges in doing so.

The strong response to the workshops (60 people registered despite limited marketing), suggests that there is a widespread interest in developing and teaching materials on CEE infrastructure education in general, and on the relationship between infrastructure and systemic racism and between infrastructure and pandemics specifically. This has led workshop organizers to administer surveys to members of the CIT-E community of practice with two primary research questions: 1) to what extent are CIT-E materials being used, and what impact are those materials having? and 2) to what extent do CEE faculty see a need for enhanced education with respect to pandemics and systemic racism?

This paper will situate the overall effort in the broader literature related to building and sustaining a community of practice, more fully describe the outcomes of the workshops, and report the results of the survey currently in progress.

Sanford, K. L., & Parker, P. J., & Roberts, M. W., & Wilson, C. M. D., & Penn, M. R., & Valdes-Vasquez, R., & Paige, F. (2021, July), Infrastructure Education in Unprecedented Times: Strengthening a Community of Practice Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37335

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