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MS Projects from Partnership with City Government

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.918.1 - 24.918.13



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Paper Authors

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Allison Carlson

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Travis Jensen University of Minnesota, Duluth

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Andrew Frank Lund University of Minnesota, Duluth

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Eshan V. Dave University of Minnesota, Duluth

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David A. Saftner University of Minnesota, Duluth

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MS Projects from Partnership with City GovernmentThis paper describes graduate student projects that were conducted through cooperation betweenUniversity of X and the City of Y. The University of X offers a Master of Science (MS) degreeoption with two tracks, namely Track A and B. The Track A option requires students to takecourse work and to spend significant effort on research thesis whereas, Track B degree isoriented on course work combined with a graduate project. The graduate projects are designed tobe realistic engineering problems that allow students gain and apply higher level civilengineering analysis and design knowledge.The University faculty worked with the engineers and planners from the City of Y to identifyactual civil engineering problems that were used as MS projects for Track-B civil engineeringgraduate students. The problems were selected to be more involved than a typical project,requiring students to utilize and apply out of the box analysis and design tools. This arrangementis mutually beneficial, providing City Y with preliminary designs and a realistic cost estimatesthat can be used for financial planning and grant proposal purposes and University X with real-life problems that enable students to achieve the learning objective of graduate level education.At present, three MS students are working on two City projects. The goal of the first project is tofind a method of using dredge material from the port of City Y as engineered fill. The coarsegrained portion of the dredge material is sold as fill material in transportation applications.However, the fine portion of the dredge material is not currently marketable due to its lowhydraulic conductivity and high compressibility. Due to the large volume of material, storing thefine grained portion is becoming a problem. University X’s MS student is researching methodsof mixing fine dredge material with other local waste materials to improve the engineeringproperties of the fine dredge material. These waste products include fly ash and lime ash fromlocal cement plants and sand-sized tailings from nearby mining operations. The student’srecommendations will be utilized in City Y’s plan to redevelop a former industrial area.The second project is associated with City of Y’s initiative to move a major truck route awayfrom residential neighborhood in an attempt to improve the quality of life for residents. Twograduate students are working on this project. One student is working on developing a newroadway alignment as well as utilities that would enable trucks to by-pass the residential areas.Due to presence of existing residential and commercial properties, nature trails, an environmentalsuperfund site and a large body of water, the provision of new alignment is challenging. Thestudent is also developing the roadway geometric designs for the new alignment. Additionally,the new alignment would require a railroad bridge over roadways. The second graduate studentworking on this project is designing the bridge structure. Once again, this project challenges arebeyond a typical bridge design from coursework due to railroad aspect of the bridge and need forsatisfying various city, county and state ordinances.This work will be assessed using the department’s Graduate Educational Objectives. Whilegraduate programs are not typically accredited and, therefore, not required to have definedobjectives as undergraduate projects are, University X’s civil engineering department is currentlyfinalizing a formal graduate assessment process to identify areas of strength and areas requiringimprovement. The literature provides examples of similar partnerships with local government inundergraduate education (i.e. Walker et al., 1999; O’Bannon and Kimes, 2006) improvingstudents’ knowledge of contemporary issues and communication skills, as well as increasing thebreath of education. This paper will demonstrate similar benefits in graduate education throughassessment of these projects using newly developed Graduate Educational Objectives.

Carlson, A., & Jensen, T., & Lund, A. F., & Dave, E. V., & Saftner, D. A. (2014, June), MS Projects from Partnership with City Government Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22851

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