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Interdisciplinary Teams through Two Companion Courses on Infrastructure

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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

The Designer of 2020: Innovations in Teaching Design

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.832.1 - 25.832.18



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Paper Authors


Matthew W. Roberts P.E. University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Matthew Roberts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Brigham Young University in 1993, then spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as a civil engineering officer. He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2002 and has been teaching structural engineering topics at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville since then.

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Michael K. Thompson University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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M. Keith Thompson is an Associate Professor at UW, Platteville. In addition to teaching Introduction to Infrastructure and Infrastructure and Society, he teaches a variety of courses in structural analysis and design. He professional background is in reinforced concrete behavior and design, but he has a research interest in engineering education, student retention, and best advising practices.

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


Barb A. Barnet University of Wisconsin, Platteville

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Barb Barnet has a Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University. She is currently Chair of the Mathematics Department at UW, Platteville.

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Interdisciplinary Teams through Two Companion Courses on InfrastructureOne of the program outcome criteria for ABET accreditation is that students demonstrate “anability to function on multidisciplinary teams.” An innovative way to meet this criterion is in theprocess of being piloted at [institution]. Faculty members in the Civil and EnvironmentalEngineering Department have developed two new courses with a focus on infrastructure. Onecourse is an engineering course taken by civil and environmental students, the other course isoffered as a social science course that fulfils the general education requirements of theuniversity. Students from both courses work together as an interdisciplinary team to assessinfrastructure components.The engineering course, “Introduction to Infrastructure Engineering” (I2I), is intended for civiland environmental engineering sophomores. It has two overarching course goals: 1. To introduce the students to civil engineering and the subdisciplines, and 2. To begin the development of an awareness of infrastructure and the challenges facing the United States with respect to infrastructure overcapacity and degradation.The I2I course has been taught twice with the third offering currently ongoing. Assessmentresults have shown that the course is meeting its goals and has been a valuable addition to thecurriculum.The social science course, “Infrastructure and Society,” is offered to all students not intending tomajor in civil or environmental engineering who meet the prerequisite of Intermediate Algebraand co-requisite of Freshman Composition. The goals of the course are: 1. To introduce students outside of civil and environmental engineering to the functions and purposes of the civil infrastructure. 2. To help students understand the social, political, economic, ethical, and environmental considerations involved in infrastructure analysis and design.Infrastructure and Society (I&S) is currently being taught for the first time in Fall 2011. The twocourses (I2I and I&S) are offered at the same time of the day so that the students from bothclasses can meet together for occasional joint lectures. In addition, the students from bothclasses are combined into project groups and will be performing various infrastructureassessment assignments throughout the semester. These assessment assignments were inspiredby ASCE’s “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.”The final paper will describe in more detail the courses and the development process.Assessment results will be presented regarding the effectiveness of the classes in helping thestudents to function on multi-disciplinary teams.

Roberts, M. W., & Thompson, M. K., & Parker, P. J., & Barnet, B. A. (2012, June), Interdisciplinary Teams through Two Companion Courses on Infrastructure Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21589

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