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Using a Former Governor's Archives as a Source of Scholarship in Engineering Technology

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Delivering Value in Publishing and Scholarship

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1651.1 - 26.1651.8



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Paper Authors


Andrew T. Rose University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Dr. Andrew T. Rose, P.E. is Associate Professor and Department Head of Civil Engineering Technology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. His interests include civil engineering history, engineering education and K-12 outreach.

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Using a Former Governor’s Archives as a Source of Scholarship in Engineering TechnologyThe archives of a former governor would not seem like a likely source of scholarly researchmaterials for an engineering technology faculty member. However, when looking at how apolitical administration addressed issues and formed policies that affected civil engineeringpractice, the archives can provide a source of first-hand information for scholarly work. TheUniversity’s library houses the archives of a former governor elected to office a few years after acatastrophic flood caused several dam failures resulting in loss of life. The passage of new andmore stringent dam safety legislation followed and became effective about six months after thenew governor took office. How the new administration supported the new requirements forimproved dam safety was of primary interest to the faculty member. At the same time, theUniversity’s archives and a related University Law and Public Policy Forum named after thegovernor were hoping to increase the relevant use of the archives by offering grants to interestedfaculty to support research activities using the archives. The summer grant allowed theresearcher to travel from a branch campus to the main campus of the University to utilize thearchives and conduct the research. In utilizing the archives, the research uncovered the programthe administration proposed to provide the financial support needed to improve dam safety. Italso documented the public relations effort used to successfully promote a voter referendumapproving the financial package. In addition to the primary focus of the research into the supportof the new dam safety legislation, other topics of interest to the researcher were discovered in thearchives. The controversy surrounding a hydroelectric project on a federally funded dam wasseen as immediately useful for incorporation into the researcher’s teaching for addressing certainABET student outcomes. Another unusual piece of information found in the archives was thatduring the governor’s last year in office, he came to the researcher’s institution to speak to theengineering technology students during Engineers’ Week. The governor’s correspondence, notesand briefs provided by state agencies in preparation for the visit provided an enlighteningoverview of how significant preparation is in giving a public presentation. The topics covered inthe briefs prepared by several different state agencies prior to the visit showed how civilinfrastructure issues played a significant role in what was important to the local population some28 years ago. Some of the civil infrastructure projects of local importance then are still beingdiscussed today. The paper discusses the use of the archives as a source of scholarly researchand provides recommendations for others considering similar scholarly endeavors.

Rose, A. T. (2015, June), Using a Former Governor's Archives as a Source of Scholarship in Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24987

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