TUES: Collaborative Research: Training the Next Generation Faculty and Students to Address the Infrastructure Crisis

Project: Research project

Description

Overview The University of Wisconsin-Platteville civil engineering and environmental engineering programs and the civil engineering program at West Point have successfully transformed their curricula in the last four years. Both universities have developed, piloted, and institutionalized two new infrastructure1-themed courses. As a result of our independent (to date) efforts, we have generated a wide variety of teaching materials for the four courses. Importantly, the transformation of our curricula has involved more than adding two new courses at each institution; as a result of having all department faculty involved in the planning and implementation, our institutions have experienced a trickle down effect, in which new infrastructure-themed material has been added to nearly every course and entire course sequences have been modified. As a result, important topics such as resilience, infrastructure protection, environmental impacts, and sustainability are presented to students in a variety of courses and tied together by the theme of the infrastructure. At an even higher level, we have observed that we have changed the way in which many students see the world (Hart et al., 2011). UW-Platteville and West Point are partnering on this proposal in which we propose to share our experiences and expertise with ten collaborating institutions. Through creating and sustaining a community of practice in the area of civil infrastructure education, infrastructure-themed courses will be offered at the collaborating institutions and continuous improvement of these courses will be possible. The grant activities will be administered through the nascent Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E, pronounced city). The initial mission of CIT-E will be to develop and distribute four model undergraduate infrastructure-themed courses and prepare faculty at the ten collaborating institutions to create, teach, and institutionalize their own infrastructure courses so that graduates are prepared to face the infrastructure challenges of the 21st Century. Our long term vision is that the CIT-E will serve as the preeminent source for infrastructure education resources and programs. The community of practice (see Wenger and McDermott, 2002 for an overview) that will develop over the course of the proposed work will initially consist of faculty members from UWPlatteville, West Point, and the ten collaborating institutions. The community of practice will foster continuous improvement in the creation, delivery, assessment, and further dissemination of materials related to civil infrastructure education. We intend to grow this community by adding additional members (via the dissemination efforts) to ensure that we have the expertise needed to address all aspects of the diverse infrastructure that serves our society. Mutual engagement, a 1 The term infrastructure as used in this proposal refers to the built environment (sometimes referred to as public works) and consists of roads, bridges, buildings, dams, levees, drinking water treatment facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, power generation and transmission, communications, solid waste, hazardous waste, and other sectors. 2 key to the success of any community of practice (Wenger, 1998), will be assured through a variety of CIT-E centered activities.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/17

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $30,000.00

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infrastructure
student
community
education
expertise
engineering
environmental engineering
curriculum
hazardous waste
teaching materials
resilience
grant
environmental impact
building
communications
sustainability
graduate
road
water
planning