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Teaming "Design Of Small Earth Dams" A Practitioner/Professor Collaboration

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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

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1209.1 - 9.1209.7



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Edgar

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Joel Farber

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

Session 1763

Teaming "Design of Small Earth Dams" – A Practitioner/Professor Collaboration Thomas V. Edgar, P.E., Ph.D. and Joel Farber, P.E., P.G.

Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 82071/ TriHydro Corporation Laramie, WY 82070


The course “Design of Small Earth Dams” is sufficiently broad and involved that the University of Wyoming has taught it for almost 20 years using both a practicing professional engineer and a professor. The arrangement has worked out very well for a variety of reasons and with several practitioners. This paper will focus on the way in which the two instructors team together to develop the course and set up schedules for teaching, assignments, tests and projects.


One of the more complex of all structures in civil engineering practice is a moderately high, zoned earth-filled dam. Its design requires a substantial knowledge of hydrology, hydraulics, geotechnical engineering, groundwater hydrology, seismology, economics and construction practice. The pieces are sufficiently difficult that a single, non-practicing professor probably is not an appropriate choice to teach the course individually. In fact, at this level of practice, it may not even be appropriate for the student to believe that the design of a sizeable dam should be undertaken by one person.

Aware of the difficulties and shortcomings, the "Design of Small Earth Dams" course at the University of Wyoming has been team taught with practicing engineers for almost twenty years. This team approach has made this course one of the most highly regarded courses taught in the department by the consulting engineers of the state. It is one of several senior and graduate level courses offered in the civil engineering program having some degree of practitioner involvement, but is currently the only one in which the consultant is a part of the day to day teaching team.

The primary focus of this paper is of the teaming aspect of the shared professor/practitioner roles in teaching this class. The paper will look at the background and nature of the course, the instructors, course structure and scheduling, practitioner’s responsibilities and perks, the course as part of the comprehensive design experience (CDE) Proceedings of the 2004 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright ©2004 American Society of Engineering Education

Edgar, T., & Farber, J. (2004, June), Teaming "Design Of Small Earth Dams" A Practitioner/Professor Collaboration Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13532

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