As an academic discipline and practice, civil engineering has not been immune to global challenges that have become increasingly complex in the twenty-first century. The development of the UBC Department of Civil Engineering’s Strategic Plan occurred during a period of uncertainty and change given the impacts of climate change, deteriorating infrastructure such as roads and water treatment systems, increasing awareness of diversity and inclusion, the global pandemic, Indigenous truth and reconciliation, as well as economic and social challenges within Canada and elsewhere.
Located on the Point Grey campus in Vancouver, the UBC Department of Civil Engineering is situated on the traditional territory of the Musqueam people. As practitioners who have historically worked closely with the land and communities, our relationship with Indigenous communities and the truth and reconciliation process is intricately connected to who we are. In saying this, our future as a department, discipline, and a teaching institution strongly relies on our actions, partnerships, and relationships with Indigenous peoples and is further guided by UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP), UBC Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Framework (StEAR), the Faculty of Applied Science Strategic Plan, and the UBC Strategic Plan.
In the past, unlike other regions in Canada that are more susceptible to weather-related changes, our temperate region has not experienced the adverse impacts related to climate change. However, in June 2021, the unprecedented heat dome in Western North America claimed over 600 lives in British Columbia, where soaring temperatures further impacted fisheries and the ecology in the region. Towns such as Lytton, BC faced extensive damage to its critical infrastructure as temperatures reached a high of 49.6 degrees Celsius, Canada’s highest ever temperature on record. British Columbia further witnessed a climate-related emergency in November 2021, which led to a series of floods and landslides that caused significant damage to transportation infrastructure, cutting off road and rail routes between greater Vancouver and the rest of Canada. The rainfall that prompted a state of emergency, also significantly impacted agricultural farms as fields flooded, further impacting access to food in the region and is noted as the costliest natural disaster in the history of British Columbia. As a discipline deeply connected with the environment and infrastructure, our priorities in both teaching and research strongly align with the Faculty of Applied Science’s strategic priority in Planetary Health.
In addition, events following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 provided a reminder that institutions such as universities need to address systemic and historic racism. Our Department, along with the Faculty of Applied Science and the University of British Columbia, recognize that our teaching, research and modes of operation have historically underserved marginalized groups. Historically, civil engineering has excluded racialized groups and women, let alone set significant barriers of entry that allow Indigenous students and professionals to study and work in our environment. Such restrictions are detrimental to our field and community, especially when our students and researchers work directly with Indigenous communities on projects such as wastewater and sanitation, infrastructure, and transportation access such as roads leading to remote communities. In addition, our courses and curriculum rarely include Indigenous ways of knowing and case studies that diversify knowledge, build an environment for meaningful inclusion, and a pathway for reconciliation and decolonization. In working with the broader community and the Faculty of Applied Science’s initiative of Inclusive Leadership and Respectful Engagement, our Department is committed to meaningfully finding ways to ensure our faculty, staff, and students feel welcome and respected.
Furthermore, the Department of Civil Engineering and the field has not been immune to the global pandemic which has significantly impacted the way we teach, conduct research, and engage with one another. Whereas in the past, our Department has come together to celebrate key milestones such as graduation, retirements, and everyday celebrations such as birthdays, the pandemic has unfortunately created social barriers in our community, the connection faculty have with students, as well as students with each other. We also recognize that the wellbeing of students and their learning outcomes have also been impacted by the pandemic. Whereas our teaching and laboratory experiments were mostly in-person prior to the pandemic, teaching expectations changed overnight in March 2020, when our faculty and students transitioned from in-person learning to fully online learning. Our staff, made up of a dedicated team of administrators, technicians, and research support were also required to transition to remote work, hybrid, or working alone on site. As we begin to return to pre-pandemic modes of teaching, research and operation, as a Department we are also finding ways to accommodate hybrid and flexible learning and modes of working that address changing work, life and learning expectations. In doing so, we’re aligning our goals with broader APSC Strategic Plan initiatives on the Future of Work to ensure that the wellbeing of our community is recognized.
These challenges have allowed us to consider the nature of learning, research, and ways in which a university operates, as well as permit us to take a few steps back to evaluate our history and how to best leverage these learnings to ensure further success as a department. This Strategic Plan involved a two-year process of exploring the diversity within our Department, the communities that we serve, and what we strive to be. In the past, rankings such as the QS World Rankings have placed our Department at number 1 in Canada and among the top 25 globally. We recognize our success has been the result of student achievements, innovative research, outstanding teaching, and dedicated staff.
Looking forward, we want to be able to prepare ourselves for the complexity of challenges and ensure that those within our community feel supported and have access to the knowledge and resources to continue to succeed. Through our conversations, we recognize that this requires a balance between harnessing our expertise in technical skills and knowledge, but also taking a step back to evaluate our work and learning environment to ensure that it is welcoming and considerate of the diversity of backgrounds and values. In doing so, we understand that the latter is an uphill climb which will take dedication from all of us and requires embedding the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity into our strategic priorities.
As civil engineering is very much connected to society and community, we aim to lead transformational change and innovation through education, research, and service that will benefit the community, be kind to the environment, and improve infrastructure with equity in mind so that it serves a diversity of users.
Our Vision, Mission and Priorities
Leading civil and environmental engineering education and research for the betterment of society, nature, and the built environment.
- Foster inclusive work, research, and learning environments where respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion is embedded throughout
- Build meaningful, sustainable and supportive relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities
- Lead cutting-edge research that addresses increasingly complex global challenges, while ensuring Canada’s climate change goals are met in all areas of civil infrastructure
- Transform education to equip the next generation of civil engineers with innovative problem-solving skills and technical knowledge to thrive in a diversity of careers
- Deliver dynamic and integrated learning experiences that inspire students to become equitable and informed leaders who will advance the boundaries of engineering knowledge and practice
Purpose and Process
This Strategic Plan outlines the Department of Civil Engineering’s goals and objectives for the next ten years from 2023 to 2033 and strongly aligns with the Faculty of Applied Science’s Strategic Plan, the University of British Columbia’s strategic plan Shaping UBC’s Next Century, UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan, and Inclusion Action Plan.
Resulting from consultations with faculty and staff, this strategic plan brings together a broad set of values and commitments that shape the Department, its vision and mission, and its key actions for the coming decade. The Strategic Plan was developed in consideration of the Department’s strengths and assets, but also considering how we can better equip ourselves to respond to a changing global context while further aligning with the direction the university is headed.
The Strategic Plan was developed over two years of discussions with the Department of Civil Engineering community. Formal discussions occurred primarily during semi-annual faculty-based retreats. Early discussions took place in 2020 when the university was still working remotely and thus the conversations and strategy sessions were completed online through large and small group sessions. As Covid-19 restrictions lifted in the summer of 2021, the Department held a number of hybrid and in-person meetings to further discuss priorities.
The discussions evolved as follows with the subject of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity positioned as a central discussion point that is interwoven into all areas such research, teaching, service, and the operations of the Department.
Situating Our Priorities in Emerging Global Challenges
As civil engineers, our work is focused on preparing for uncertainty while understanding that change is inevitable in the contexts we study, teach, research, and work. The forces and challenges presented to us not only complicate our efforts as engineers, but also present us with the opportunity to demonstrate how our research, teaching, and way we work are vehicles for change and transformation. In developing our Strategic Plan, we looked within ourselves to identify how we can harness our strengths but also prepare our department to be successful in weathering the complex challenges in the coming years.
To help situate ourselves in the broader context, the following provides an outline of the current drivers of change and challenges that relate to the field of civil engineering and our Department.
Education & University Drivers
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity (EDII)
The monumental events initiated by Black Lives Matter in 2020 significantly impacted how institutions operate, calling government institutions, universities, and businesses to re-evaluate how historically marginalized groups are treated. As engineers, the question of how we engage with communities to ensure meaningful and sustainable impact that is beneficial to all has always been top of mind.
- Over the past two years, increased efforts from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Equity and Inclusion Office at UBC have provided faculty, students, and staff with the training needed to understand our positionalities. Our faculty, staff and students have benefited from training in anti-racism, anti-oppression, decolonization, and equity as well as contributed to initiatives that the Department has developed.
- The strategic planning process also intentionally positioned EDII as a central component that directs all conversations on research, curriculum, teaching, and operations.
- Our Department strongly values EDII, but it has not been of importance in our teaching, research, hiring, promotion, and other operations. This in part has to do with the fact that the Department and profession has historically been male dominated, where women and individuals from racially-diverse groups, have not always been included let alone been in decision-making roles.
- The Department recognizes that we have a long way to go, especially when including diverse individuals and voices in leadership while providing meaningful and sustainable initiatives such as mentorship programs to ensure success.
- Equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity will be central to how we recruit a new generation of faculty and students, but also in the values of our operations and how we carry out our teaching and research.
Although in-person teaching and research has resumed, the impacts of global pandemic have altered how the university delivers education to the new generation of learners.
- Initially in March 2020, the pandemic impacted the way classes are taught where overnight faculty, students, and student support were expected to transform from in-person to online. The opportunity to teach fully online opened doors to different methods in how we engage with students and the material, while inviting conversations regarding flexibility, cost of technology, as well as “Zoom fatigue.” In addition, online teaching also fostered the opportunity to engage and broaden our student base while providing individuals in remote areas with the opportunity to access education. As we move forward in the post-pandemic era, our Department is also experimenting with different modes of teaching, research and work to broaden access and opportunities.
- The pandemic and other global events have also impacted supply chains, thus limiting how our researchers and students conduct research given the restrictions on availability and increased cost of materials, infrastructure as well as travel. Such limitations and impacts to the supply chain have further been felt with the flooding in British Columbia in the fall of 2021, the war in Ukraine, and sporatic Covid-19 related restrictions in manufacturing-based countries such as China. The lack of access to materials and infrastructure as well as the uncertainties it brings has posed a challenge to the way research is conducted and how our laboratories operate. In addition, the pandemic and staffing shortages have slowed down international travel which further impacts the ability of international students gaining access to visas to study in Canada.
Research and Industry Drivers
Climate change and extreme weather, marginalized communities
As a Department with a specialization in environmental engineering, the impacts of climate change are central to our research, teaching and operations. In 2022, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report noted that already 3.5 billion people are highly vulnerable to climate impacts and half of the world’s population will suffer from water shortage at some point. Half a million more are at risk of floods each year and those living in coastal areas will be further exposed by 2050.
The Department recognizes the complexity of climate change and that its impacts are not uniform. As climate change is as much a social issue as it is a scientific one, and the best way to ensure effective lasting protection from climate chaos is through action that addresses intersectional inequities such as gender, ethnicity, disability, age, location and income. As climate losses and damages are strongly concentrated among the poorest and vulnerable populations who have done the least to cause the problem.
- Although our Department is well versed with researchers who are equipped to deal with the multi-faceted impacts of climate change, the unpredictability of the climate challenge will require a multidisciplinary approach that can account for the technical challenges as well as be considerate of equity-related inequalities that position marginalized communities at higher risk.
- Further planning and discussions are needed to identify existing knowledge gaps and hire a new generation of engineers who are able to address the complexity of challenges related to climate change and its connection with infrastructure.
Urbanization, demand on infrastructure, aging infrastructure
As cities grow, urban density and socio-economic pressures create greater impacts on civil infrastructure which will increasingly face demands on reliability, delivery of services, and repair. As it’s predicted that the world’s population will rise to 10 billion by 2100 with 70 percent living in cities, the complexity of current demands on infrastructure will undoubtedly be exacerbated by demographic changes. Cities will require creative solutions that enable collaboration among different stakeholders to address the emerging issues associated with infrastructure development, safety and maintenance.
- Equitable and Inclusive Urban Environment: The development and maintenance of urban infrastructure will not only require innovative, sophisticated approaches that harness sensing, communication, and control to address engineering challenges, it will need to engage the population by improving livability for all socioeconomic groups and ensure a more equitable and inclusive urban environment.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine-Learning: Increasingly, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are used to monitor infrastructure such as bridges, buildings and roads while relaying information to researchers for analysis. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is a way forward, especially in the construction industry which is facing labour shortages and an increase in injuries. Robots and other devices, either autonomous or operated by humans, are able to conduct work such as inspections that have been limited in the past and/or too dangerous to humans. The use of machines will help provide data and information that can drive transformational change in industry standards and methods.
- However, the use of machines and artificial intelligence isn’t without its limitations. Recent studies have demonstrated that bias is transferred to machines, especially in cases where data is taken from a limited section of society. This bias could consequently repeat historical injustices (such as racial and gender discrimination), but also limit efforts in making equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity changes. Any movement forward in using and applying robotics and artificial intelligence will need to consider the biases of those operating the machinery rather than assuming that machines do not have bias.
Reconciliation and marginalized communities
Civil engineering serves people and communities; however, our practices have not always been conducive to the culture and needs of particular communities such as women, racialized groups, and Indigenous communities.
- Historically, civil engineers have designed bridges and highways as well as housing developments differently in racialized and/or marginalized communities, and often without consulting those it impacts the most. For instance, the development of the Georgia Viaduct in Vancouver during the 1960s and 1970s obliterated the local Black population in Hogan’s Alley. More so, gentrification of Vancouver’s Chinatown has also failed to consider the diverse needs of the community, such as the aging population of low-income Chinese and the cultural importance of the community. Similar types of projects have further isolated communities, often poor and coloured, from accessing the resources that are needed.
- As a Department with specialists working on wastewater and with Indigenous communities, we are only beginning to consider Indigenous ways of knowing in the way we operate, relate, and consult with Indigenous communities. In the past, engineers have implemented infrastructure in Indigenous communities without consultation or consideration of the values, cost, and operational needs of the community. Consequently, such projects were abandoned due to the inefficiency or high cost of running it in an economically marginalized and remote community.
- As engineers, we recognize that this is an uphill challenge and we may not be equipped with the culturally appropriate skills to address this consultation in an effective manner. But recognizing the limitations we have is one step forward as we will need to learn, collaborate with communities, and find ways to ensure Indigenous ways of knowing are considered and communities are included in decision-making processes.
Specific UBC Department of Civil Engineering Drivers
As a Department we recognize and acknowledge that we often operate in disciplinary silos that further isolate us in our research, teaching methods, and operations. During our consultations, both faculty and staff highlighted the difficulty of collaborating and communicating over the course of the pandemic. While others also voiced that technology has allowed us to be more flexible and accommodating to the needs of diverse members in our community. Although the divisions may have been exacerbated during the pandemic, the silos have also been the result of an academic system that rewards the success of individuals rather than collaboration among groups.
Throughout our discussions, the question of how to we address disciplinary silos has been a major concern.
- This concern further stems to staff and students who have admitted that there is a lack of communication and engagement. This was further exacerbated during remote learning and work when faculty, staff, and students were isolated and depended on technology to communicate.
- One of the challenges to find the space, resources, and opportunities to further collaborate, communicate, and engage with each other to repair the isolation.
The opportunity to nurture the learning experiences and wellbeing of our students is something that is at the heart of our values as educators, researchers and administrators. However, often the structure of our learning environments and laboratories don’t foster the opportunity to deeply connect with our students, especially our undergraduate students. A way to engage and work collaboratively with students in developing the needs of the Department, learning objectives, and research as well as equity related initiatives is something we’re aiming to address as a department.
As the world presents us with increasingly challenging problems that require multidisciplinary solutions, our Department is questioning how our curriculum can provide students with the necessary skills to address such complexities.
- As a Department, we are also exploring interdisciplinary teaching and case studies to equip students with the skills and knowledge to understand problems from different perspectives. We believe this is what creates a socially conscious engineer that can develop solutions for the betterment of society. During our discussions, the question of student outcome was also considered when discussing the structure of our curriculum, and whether our curriculum provides students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers, let alone increasingly diverse work environments. In comparing our program with other programs in institutions in BC (such as BCIT, UVic and UNBC), the question of length and practicums (in terms of practical experience) was also highlighted.
- It’s noted that more needs to be done in terms of understanding the situation, generating holistic data regarding outcomes, and engaging with our alumni is needed to understand and improve our programming.
Work Load & Recognition
Although our faculty are dedicated to education, it’s understandable that faculty members are expected to take on a heavy workload with competing interests. Recognition of responsibilities and additional initiatives such as equity-centric work have been met with concerns over workload and what is sustainable. As a priority, the Department will consider what allocation of workload means and how to best assign and harness knowledge that ensures our productivity is sustainable.
Facilities and Space
Our facilities are undoubtedly aging with out-of-date infrastructure that limits innovative and transformative research.
- Although a number of our researchers have been successful in acquiring large Canada Foundation for Innovation funds (both Innovation Fund and JELF), such grants are competitive and limited by a quota allocated to each institution. In order to be successful, teams need to have a strong track record in research as well as a history of collaboration.
- In addition to the need for more collaborative work, the Department has outgrown the space that we’ve been allocated by the university. The space that we currently occupy desperately needs an upgrade to facilitate a new generation of researchers and the equipment-based needs they require.
- Due to the age and deterioration of our space, any request for modern equipment requires upgrades and renovations which significantly eats into the cost of the infrastructure request. Recent experiences have shown there can be a large increase from estimated cost at the time of grant submission to actual cost at the time of purchase of equipment and renovation, and this increase is expected to be further impacted by ongoing supply chain issues and rising cost of materials.
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity
As engineers who have worked directly with communities and as teachers who work closely with students the concerns related to EDII have always been part of who we are. However, traditional training in engineering hasn’t always provided us with adequate training and knowledge to address and work with diverse perspectives and groups, nor has it taught us the importance of equity and developing inclusive workspaces, infrastructure, and cities.
- Over the past several years, our faculty, staff and students have been engaged in training offered by the university and the Faculty of Applied Science.
As a first step in understanding EDII and upholding key values that are specific to our Department, we formed an EDII Committee as well as started a number of initiatives that provide a foundation for our department to evaluate our practices, such as conducting a 360-degree evaluation of how the Department is doing in terms of EDII through a series of surveys run from late 2020 to mid 2021 and hosting EDII-focused discussions with faculty and staff.
The discussions opened up questions related to recognition, intention, and incentives when it comes to doing EDII work.
- An overarching question regarding conducting EDII work is the fact that it has historically been invisible work conducted by a select group of individuals who are passionate about change and, as a result, has often gone unrecognized.
- In addition, the discussions further recognize that such work is often “taxed”, meaning that in group or institutional settings, often those who identify as belonging to a particular affinity group are assigned or volunteer to do the work, but due to one’s close association with the work, it becomes emotionally taxing. Unfortunately, this tax, known as equity tax, has not been recognized in merit and promotion situations and can be detrimental to the individual or group.
- The Department recognizes as one of its goals that proper recognition is needed to ensure EDII work is central to every individual or group’s values and ways in which they operate.
Going forward, it is paramount in our values as a Department that EDII is incorporated into all our ways of doing things, operations, teaching, research, and engaging with others. We recognize that we have a long way to go, but our conversations with one another have demonstrated that there is a strong appetite to ensure that our place of work, learning, and innovation is one that values diversity and difference among individuals and groups. We aim to create a welcoming environment where everyone, no matter their background, origins, beliefs, values are recognized and welcome. We also recognize that our discipline has not always been open to change and self-reflection, let alone recognizing the need to consider diverse views. But through our small steps and conversations, we are initiating a careful approach to ensure that change is meaningful and sustainable.
Objectives and Implementation
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity
Inclusive environment where respect for EDII is embedded throughout
As civil engineers are increasingly required to recognize and address diversity in their work, research, teaching, and interactions with the community, knowledge of equity, diversity and inclusion is needed. In the past, the field of civil engineering has been predominantly men, with few women included in the field. Although the landscape is changing with our female undergraduate student population at 30%, the culture and teachings continue to reflect the interests of select groups thus hindering the full inclusion of women, Indigenous, and other marginalized peoples. Recognizing that the field needs to evolve to include meaningful practices that recognize inclusion and diversity as well as Indigeneity, while further contributing to Canada’s truth and reconciliation process, more needs to be done in terms of our operations, curriculum, ways of teaching, research, methodology, and operations. In order to truly become an inclusive environment for work and study, a thorough review and reflection of our practices, teaching, research, and ways we engage with the community is needed.
- Embed EDII into Department operations and culture
- I. Embed EDII into the culture of the Department through continuous learning and reflection
- II. Incorporate EDII into faculty and staff annual review and merit processes, hiring, student recruitment, and onboarding practices
- III. Ensure Department-based decision-making Committees (e.g. Hiring, Awards, Admissions) undergo continuous EDII training
- Support inclusion of EDII in teaching and research
- I. Align with APSC and UBC on targeted EDII training to groups (such as lab environment, teaching, teaching assistants, research design, graduate mentoring etc.)
- II. Develop ongoing seminars/lecture series share ideas on EDII and build community (e.g. lunch & learn series)
- Indigenous Inclusion
- I. Work with Engineering Academic Services (EAS) and APSC to reduce barriers of entry for Indigenous students
- II. Internal reflection to decolonize Department, education and practices
- III. Create an Indigenous Engagement Committee that will advise implementation plan for curriculum, research, operations and govern accountability for all points
Transformative Research to Enhance Civil Engineering’s Impact on Society
As engineering challenges become more complex so does the need to respond with innovative technologies and knowledge that provide transformative solutions for the betterment of society. Increasingly our researchers are confronted with the need to adopt and engage in interdisciplinary approaches that test the boundaries of our discipline. Through our discussions, our researchers recognize the need to broaden technical knowledge with interdisciplinary methods to harness and nurture growth. In doing so, we aim to incorporate interdisciplinary methods and knowledge that contributes and broadens civil engineering to consider the impact on people and communities. Most importantly, as our research depends on the relationships we build, people, and communities, we are strongly considering equity in the allocation of infrastructure, while fostering learning/research environments that are diverse and equitable so that a new generation of engineers are equipped with the knowledge and experience to excel in diverse work environments.
- Enhance research and innovation to address emerging global challenges
- I. Welcome a culture of complex problem-solving that requires a diversity of knowledge and thinking beyond discipline-specific approaches and methods
- II. Provide financial and logistical support for multi-disciplinary collaborations to enhance research
- III. Recruit and retain top research graduate students with strategies such as competitive funding packages, professional training, innovative space, and community, including equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity considerations when recruiting and reviewing applications for graduate admissions
- IV. Develop meaningful collaboration and partnerships with Indigenous communities
- Support professional growth and development of research
- I. Recognize non-traditional impacts (e.g. community projects, service, industry partnerships, equity considerations) in addition to traditional metrics (e.g. publications, citations, metrics) in merit, promotion, and awards
- II. Engage senior faculty and resources in developing a robust support and mentoring network for early-career researchers
- III. Renew industry connections and network by restarting Industry Advisory Group
- Renew research infrastructure and space
- I. Begin discussions regarding renewal of research facilities, lab equipment, and infrastructure
- II. Provide financial support and resources to leverage large infrastructure grants such as Canada Foundation for Innovation
- III. Finding equitable ways to distribute space and upgrade facilities
Education that Empowers Change
Our student population is diverse with students from over 37 countries in our undergraduate and over 30 countries in our graduate programs, and the programs that we offer should reflect the interests and aspirations of the diversity of our students. Recognizing that our graduates are increasingly faced with having to solve global challenges that require interdisciplinary thinking, our faculty are faced with the challenge to develop curriculum and programming that prepares our students to meet such demands. As we evaluate our course offerings and future recruitment, we are strategically anticipating what the world will look like in ten to fifteen years with the adoption of machine learning, need for real-time data in decision making, failing infrastructure, urban density, climate change, and the drive for a more equitable and diverse world. In addition, the workforce is increasingly diverse where companies are required to consider candidates from different backgrounds and experiences. Our programs and decisions in recruitment are also considering similar approaches, but in addition, we are preparing our students to be able to succeed in diverse teams where their skills and knowledge also consider equity and diversity, as well as Indigeneity.
- Modernize curriculum to address emerging engineering challenges
- I. Evaluate current curriculum and courses to ensure students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to succeed and to address emerging engineering challenges
- II. Integrate curriculum with approaches and learnings from other disciplines such as social science and humanities, business, and science as well as Indigenous ways of knowing
- III. Expand opportunities for students to take courses outside of engineering, particularly those that present new ways of learning, thinking, and knowing
- IV. Recognize a diversity of learning needs and build support for different forms of teaching (e.g. hybrid, community-based learning, flipped classroom etc.) as well as implementation/application of different technological tools for teaching/learning
- Student engagement and community building
- I. Strengthen relationships among students, faculty and administration to enhance student engagement opportunities
- II. Enhance support for extracurricular and professional development opportunities, including student teams, conferences, clubs, and internships
- III. Expand outreach and recruitment to diverse populations to increase interest and broad participation in engineering education
- IV. Connect alumni and students through mentorship and engagement opportunities
- V. Develop more connections between undergraduate study and research
- Robust data and record keeping
- I. Establish a system of data collection to provide a holistic understanding of student experience, program needs, and career planning
Education that Empowers Innovation
Graduate education’s direct connection to the multiple facets of research makes it a pivotal area to embark on creating transformative leaders who will have impact on society, community, and students. Our graduate students work closely with their supervisors and contribute to key projects, grant applications, as well as teaching and mentoring our undergraduate students. A number of our graduate students continue on to academic professions such as further studies in the doctorate program, as postdoctoral fellows, and academic scholars in universities. However, as civil engineering is an applied field, many of graduates also work in industry or transition from academic scholarship to industry and vice versa. The applicability of our programs makes it possible for our students to be leaders in university as well as in industry.
- Robust graduate recruitment practices to attract top students
- I. Recruit and attract top graduate students through competitive funding packages, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and research excellence of faculty
- II. Engage industry to align graduate curriculum with workforce needs
- Ensure graduate success in diverse global professional environment
- I. Provide an environment that embraces diversity of thought, experiences, and backgrounds
- II. Provide the financial support and resources necessary for students to excel in research
- III. Expand efforts for internship experiences with leading industry and national laboratory partners
- Financial resources and support for graduate students
- I. Assist current and prospective graduate students in preparing competitive scholarship applications
- II. Review graduate funding packages to ensure adequate financial support