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Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics: Undergraduate Programs


Objective 1: Technical Proficiency.

Building on fundamental knowledge, graduates should continue to develop technical skills within and across disciplines in civil engineering and/or in closely related fields.

Objective 2: Professional Growth.

Graduates should develop and exercise their capabilities for life-long learning as a means to enhance their technical and non-technical skills

Objective 3: Management Skills.

Graduates should develop and refine their knowledge and skills for management, communications, and professional ethics.


Our objectives are published at: (

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Program Outcomes

As noted, program outcomes are taken from the ABET recommendations (outcomes a-k).  Our CEP outcomes are:

(a) an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering

(b) an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data

(c) an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability

(d) an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams

(e) an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems

(f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

(g) an ability to communicate effectively

(h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context

(i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning

(j) a knowledge of contemporary issues

(k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

The program outcomes are published on the College of Engineering website.

( and

In addition to the program outcomes defined above, faculty defined a set of specific outcomes desired to be achieved within the CE discipline.  These outcomes are listed below.  It is noted that the CEP discipline specific outcomes are strongly related to material tested on the Fundamentals of Engineering examination.

Discipline Specific Outcomes

Engineering Science (CE 214, CE 215, CE 218, ENGR 211)

A-1      Have a strong understanding of equilibrium principles.

A-2      Understand stress development within structures.

A-3      Understand elastic and inelastic behavior of structures.

A-4      Understand and be able to apply the fluid mechanics principles of conservation of mass, energy, and momentum to solve general problems involving fluid flow.

A-5      Be able to apply control-volume approaches to develop reactor balances for mass, energy, and momentum.

Environmental Engineering (CE 370R and L)

B-1      Understand drinking water treatment unit operations, including sedimentation, coagulation, water softening and disinfection.

B-2      Understand biological treatment of wastewater, including an understanding of microbial growth kinetics and clarifier design.

B-3      Understand water chemistry and the concepts of molarity and equivalency to be able to write balanced chemical equations and determine the speciation of dissolved constituents as a function of pH.

Cross-Discipline Areas (CE 251, CE 301, CE 303. CE 310, CE 408)

C-1      Possess an intermediate level of knowledge of a scientific computer programming skills such as Matlab.

C-2      Have a basic comprehension of computational techniques that, at a minimum, will allow students to solve systems of linear equations, interpolate and fit data, solve nonlinear equations, and use numerical methods for the solution of differential equations.

C-3      Understand and be able to apply the principles of surveying as they pertain to measurements specific to civil engineering applications.

C-4      Possess a basic understanding of the principles of probability and statistics and have the ability to apply those principles in modeling non-deterministic problems in civil engineering.

C-5      Understand issues in professional engineering practice, including engineering economics, and be familiar with professional engineering codes of ethics and their application.

C-6      Possess written and oral communications skills that will allow them to express themselves intelligibly to technical and non-technical audiences

Geotechnical Engineering (CE 343, CE 349)

D-1      Have an understanding of soil behavior, including phase relationships, the principle of effective stress, and the shear strength characteristics of coarse- and fine-grained soils.

D-2      Be able to design simple foundation systems (shallow and deep) based on constraints including settlement and ultimate capacity.

Hydraulics And Water Resources  (CE 323, CE 329)

E-1      Understand the concepts of friction loss and energy in pressurized systems to evaluate flow in pipes and pipe systems and be able to select pumps based on system characteristics.

E-2      Be able to analyze and design components of open channel flow systems by being capable of developing water surface profiles in natural and man-made channels and analyzing sediment transport and erosion around bridge piers and abutments.

E-3      Have an elementary understanding of surface and groundwater hydrology and be able to predict peak surface flows and drawdown resulting from well pumping.

Structural Engineering (CE 333, CE 334 or CE 335)

F-1      Be able to develop a mathematical model to represent a structure, estimate the magnitude and direction of the different types of loads acting on it, analyze the structure, and then design all structural elements and connections for construction using conventional engineering materials such as concrete and/or steel.

F-2      Be familiar with the more common structural design codes currently used in the profession.

Transportation Engineering (CE 363)

G-1      Understand the fundamental concepts of transportation systems, including human, vehicle and flow characteristics; and be able to design roadway alignments, to design simple signal timing plans, to analyze capacity and level of service, and to apply basic transportation planning methods.

G-2      Understand the concepts needed for roadbed and pavement design and the design fundamentals for pavement systems.


B. Relationship of Student Outcomes to Program Educational Objectives

Our program outcomes are linked to our graduates’ future success.  To demonstrate those links, CEP faculty mapped the outcomes to the CEP objectives (Table 3-1). Here, primary and secondary objectives are defined in cases where the outcomes are not uniquely related to a single objective.  For example, the skills to apply modern tools that were developed during a student’s undergraduate program and linked to a student outcome will support technical skills needed be successful and be a critical component of professional growth.  Table 3-2 shows the mapping between the discipline specific outcomes and the program objectives.

Table 3-1: Map of CEP’s Educational Objectives with CEP Outcomes

Student Outcomes - ABET Criteria a – k

Program Objectives


Technical Proficiency

Professional Growth

Management Skills

a)    An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering




b)     An ability to design and conduct experiments and analyze and interpret data




c)    An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability




d)    An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams




e)     An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems




f)     An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility




g)     An ability to communicate effectively




h)    The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global/societal context




i)     A recognize the need for and an ability to engage in life-long learning




j)     A knowledge of contemporary issues




k)    An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary to engineering practice




X – Primary objective, Y – Secondary objective

Table 3-2: Map of CEP’s Educational Objectives with Discipline-Specific Skills

A = Engineering Science, B = Environmental Engineering, C = Cross-Discipline Area, D = Geotechnical Engineering,

E = Hydraulic Engineering, F = Structural Engineering, G = Transportation Engineering














Technical Proficiency

Professional Growth

Management Skills













a, e






a, e






a, e






a, e






a, c, e






a, b, c, e






a, b






a, k






b, k






b, k






a, b, k






f, h, j






b, d, g, h






a, b, c, e






c, k






a, b, c, e






a, b, c, e






a, b, c, e






a, b, c, e






c, k






a, b, c, e






c, k



Assessment Activities: 

The indicators for each measure follow.

Results of the FE exam – Examination results for the FE exam are used to document multiple outcomes.  Our nominal achievement indicator is exceeding the national average in each exam topic and the exam passing rate.  Results are taken from enrollees that define Civil Engineering as their major as recommended by Barrett et al

Course grades –  The indicator for success for course that are identified as indicating achievement of different outcomes is that the class average GPA for the class exceed 2.0.

Oral and written presentation – A survey of senior capstone project evaluators has been conducted to assess improvement of student presentations over time. The purpose is to close the loop on improvements made in the communication area. The indicator of success is a demonstrated improvement.

Design experience and FOD Design Content Assessment – Achievement of these indicators is completion of appropriate coursework with adequate scores.  Specifically, all 300 level specialty area courses and technical electives are completed and each individual course will have a class average GPA greater than 2.0. For the senior capstone sequence, our goal is that 99% of students successfully complete the course sequence with C or better in both courses.

To assess the quality of the curriculum design component, prior to the 2004 accreditation visit, the FOD provided an outside assessment of the 1–unit of design taught as part of the 4-unit introductory junior-level courses in each of the five sub-disciplines of civil engineering offered by the CEP (Appendix I).  These courses have largely remained consistent with the content at that time and the results from this assessment remain valid.

Constituent Surveys - In addition to these measures, surveys were conducted to determine our constituencies’ level of satisfaction with the way the CEP was providing the educational components necessary to satisfy the desired student outcomes in Criteria a-m and, when appropriate, to obtain feedback about the outcomes that they felt were most important in their professional practice.  

Those constituencies consist primarily of employers, alumni, recent graduates, and current students.  Much of the qualitative data collected from these surveys could be reduced to form a quantitative data base for comparison and assessment.  Qualitative assessment information was also collected from face-to-face discussions with alumni, students, and industry.  Formal surveys were conducted as follows:

CEEM Employer Survey (Appendix I)

Table 3-1: Tools and achievement levels used to assess CEP outcome

Assessment tool

Achievement Level

Outcomes tool applied to

FE overall results

Exceed national average passing rate

a, e, l

FE topic results

Exceed national average passing rate

a, c, e, f, m


Satisfied graduation requirement or exceeded class average GPA of 2.0 for each course


CE 408/498

99% of students successfully complete course sequence with C or better in both courses

c, d, e, f, g, i, j

Employer survey

Above form mean

a - k

Alumni survey

Above form mean

a - k

Graduation exit survey

Above form mean

a – k

FOD Design content assessment

Acceptable indicators from earlier FOD survey

c, e, k

Professional activities

75% of juniors/seniors are members of SCE

75% of student take the FE exam prior to graduation

f, i


A. Information Used for Program Improvement

As described in Sections 2.F and 3.F, a set of information is available to evaluate achievement of program objectives and outcomes, respectively. In combination with faculty and other stake-holder input, these indicators pointed to areas in need of improvement or potential strengthening. Specific courses and actions were also raised by the AIC, by faculty and by graduating seniors during exit interviews.

B. Actions to Improve the Program

1. Academic Program Improvements

Program Objectives

Based on the concern raised in the 2004 general review and more explicit guidance from the EAC, program objectives have been revised and focused on specific indicators defined by our constituents as described in Section 2.E. The new objectives are given in Section 2.B. The benefit of the indicators that are desirable graduate responsibilities in the 3-5 year time frame after graduation is that specific attributes can be measured and program modifications made accordingly.  The difficulty is defining benchmarks to measure success. The revised program objectives were completed in Spring 2010 and the CEEM faculty is now collecting data to define those benchmarks.

Inclusion of Practicing Engineers in the CEP

An ongoing conversation within the AIC and faculty has been how to provide students with practical knowledge and skills. Over the past decade, the CEP has collaborated with our active civil engineering professional community to develop practitioner led experiences.  These include an internship program (developed 2001), practicing faculty in the classroom (wood and masonry design (2007-2010) and advanced concrete design courses, surveying, and the capstone design course. In addition, a retired communication faculty with a technical background has altered the student perception of the communication course (see below). Finally, as described more fully below a group of 8 practitioners were coordinated by a regular faculty to teach an integrated bridge design course (see below).  In combination, these contributions were recognized by the NCEES with a 2009 Engineering Award for Connecting Professional Practice and Education (abstract below - As described in the abstract, practitioners provide significant leadership in providing technical content as well as the need for lifelong learning and professional licensure. 

In addition to leading in formal classes, practicing engineers also contribute through delivering individual lectures in the two-semester senior capstone course, evaluating students during 408/498 design reviews, and providing talks in the graduate seminar series (that all students may attend) and student organization (SCE and ITE) lunches held weekly. Our engineering community through the AIC continues to highlight the desirability of practitioner involvement.  For example, the most recent AIC meeting included a session to discuss input to the CEEM strategic planning process and this topic lead the discussion and several possible mechanisms were suggested during a brainstorming session. The CEP will continue to work toward improving our ties with the engineering community.

Practitioner Led Engineering Experiences

Abstract for the NCEES Engineering Award

Our program is fortunate to have significant support for our students and our educational mission from the local community. A number of professionals have invested their knowledge and time to lead and collaborate on advanced practically oriented experiences for our Civil Engineering students. These practitioner instructors take time from their firms and become positive models for our students. This group fills a gap by teaching material that faculty are unable to teach or that is better suited to being taught by practitioners. Their involvement in the curriculum expands opportunities that are geared to real world applications. In particular, they have partnered with faculty to develop communication and surveying courses, and participate in our senior design sequence in a range of capacities including course leader. Finally, group of eight practitioners organized and offered a novel bridge design course centered on newly accepted probabilistic design procedures. These successful partnerships are summarized in this submission for consideration for a NCEES Engineering Award. 

These courses provide an outstanding link between students and practice in a range of curriculum components including design and developing communication and teamwork skills. Collaboration results demonstrate curriculum innovation that would not be possible without the leadership of our practitioner partners. The practical emphasis has added unique experiences such as site visits and the introduction of emerging state-of-the practice technology in the curriculum. In addition to practitioner leadership of the courses, the instructors extend our network in the community by inviting other practitioners to contribute to courses by providing lectures in their specialty areas and serving on expert panels to review student work. The later activity has led to a significant impact on professionalism and quality of presentations.

Positive impacts on applicable award evaluation criteria are discussed below.

Successful collaboration of faculty, students, and professional practitioners and impact of partnering teaching and practice – Our departmental alumni and friends have recognized the opportunity to support our department and work in tandem with our faculty to develop novel educational experiences that better prepare graduates. The two most collaborative efforts are the practitioner initiated bridge design course that was collaboratively organized and taught by practitioners and faculty and our capstone design courses that are led by a practitioner with lectures taught by faculty and practitioners. Capstone design evaluation teams were comprised of a mix of the two groups.

Benefit to health, safety and welfare of the public – Practitioners are more acutely aware of the need to design for safety and students are more open to accepting this guidance from practitioners who have that perspective. Technically, the bridge design course was based on new technology that accounted for the uncertainties in the all aspects of the design. Understanding and applying, this newly instituted approach will improve the safety of transportation structures designed by these graduates.

Impact of raising social consciousness – The senior design course under practitioner leadership has added modules on social issues including requiring students to attend a public meeting to develop an understanding of the social implications of their work and the strength of public opinion. As Civil Engineers, this understanding is critical.

Knowledge and skills gained -  The success of these courses and the amount of material learned is documented in student evaluations. Passing this knowledge to the students is a tribute to the instructor’s quality and their communication skills. Our students have consistently scored average to above average scores on the FE exam in structural design and surveying.

Professional leadership – All instructors in design courses are professional engineers demonstrating the desirability of licensure. Further, the first semester of our two semester design course includes a range of professionalism topics including an ethics module that is taught by practitioners.

2. Course additions/modifications

LRFD based Bridge Design Course -Integrated Highway Bridge Design Using LRFD Methodology

In 2006, bridge design changed. Rather than apply design safety factors to loads, AASHTO issued specification for applying the load resistance factor design (LRFD) methodology. This methodology has been used in structural analysis for some time. The complexities and multitude of factors affecting a bridge, however, make it application much more complex. Training of practicing engineers has been completed through short courses and specialized seminars. A number of our alumni have been active in that regard.

Recognizing that students should be prepared for this new methodology, a group of local practitioners approached the department with a proposal to teach a course on the topic. They volunteered their services without charge. This motivated group was joined by several others and the course, originally titled, Transportation Structures was approved in October, 2007 by our Undergraduate Studies Committee to be taught in Fall 2008. As the course evolved, the title was modified to Integrated Bridge Design Using LRFD Methodology. Eight practicing professional engineers with four areas of expertise began to meet in earnest through the Spring 2008 semester.  Monthly meetings were typically one to two hours until the agenda was completed. Often a faculty would attend to support the process. In addition, one of the practitioners was a formerly faculty and head of this department. He has remained an active supporter after retirement. Also, another of the group taught LRFD Bridge design to practitioners. Their experience made the transition for material to the classroom much easier. 

This process continued and several generations of notes and syllabi (Table 4-1) were produced. The theme of the course remained a constant: introduce students to probabilistic design of a complex structure that requires integration of four areas of civil engineering. Due to personal issues, a key player in the course was required to withdrawal from the course in late April.  Her role as lead of the structural component was integral to the project. Given the short notice, a faculty in the area accepted responsibility for this role. He also took leadership of organizing the group. The course syllabus, lectures and organization were completed with similar monthly group meetings. Subgroup meetings were also necessary in some cases to insure consistency within the area. The goal of emphasizing uncertainties in all aspect of bridge design in addition to LRFD also required coordination between areas and a common set of introductory materials. The course was successfully offered during the Fall 2008 semester to 25 students. Additional instructor coordination meetings were held in the fall. All instructors generally attended all of the 3 hour classes that were held on Saturday mornings.

The previous paragraphs are intended to provide a glimpse of the effort, all of which was unpaid with the exception of a late entering faculty member. The students were made aware of this task and teamwork required to pull the course together. As the course progressed, the emphasis for communication and need for good teamwork for a bridge design was demonstrate in the course itself. An abbreviated course is syllabus is shown in the inset block. Table 4-2 lists the course topics by week. Several points should be noted. First, the level of this course required a solid background in fundamental civil engineering topics.  All junior level design courses were pre-requisite to taking this course. These courses with the probability course gave a common language for instructors and students.

Table 4-1: Bridge Design Course Syllabus

Next, the strength of this course is bringing practical engineering to our students. This aspect of this course is seen immediately in the course textbooks that are all practice manuals. Further, as seen in the course topics, case studies are a significant portion of the course. Finally, the last class meeting was a field trip to a local construction project that contained several bridges at various stages of construction. The regional department of transportation engineer led the tour and was accompanied by other DOT personnel as well as the project contractors. The ability to see the result of the design process, in particular, aspects of constructability and ask questions was a strong positive for the students.

Although practical issues are important, the introduction of a novel design concept from practitioner experienced with the methodology in design and instruction is of enormous educational value. The demonstration of integrating design components under a common design approach is normally extremely difficult to accomplish in the usual silo atmosphere of academics. Practitioners bring unique qualities and focus on getting the best product to students. This group of practitioners demonstrated the ability of working as a team, providing exceptional value, contributing to society and delivering and educating a group of students. 

Table 4-2: Bridge Design Course Schedule

Basic Science Requirement

In accordance with the revised Civil Engineering program criteria, a basic science course beyond chemistry and physics was required to be included in the CEP.  The CEEM faculty undertook identifying appropriate course(s) that will be included in the AY2010-11 curriculum. To that end, the department head conducted a survey of CE programs through the Civil Engineering Head listserv.  The results are summarized in Appendix L. In addition, AIC members discussed courses that would be beneficial to include in the program at their Fall 2009 meeting.

Since the CEP is capped at 128 units, inclusion of a new course required removing another course.  Prior to the imposition of Arizona Board of Regents limit on credit hours, a geosciences course was part of the curriculum.  The UGSC proposed that students would have an option of Introductory Biology I (Microbiology 181R and L) or a Physical Geology (Geosciences 251) to allow students to gear the course to their specialization.  Further, the latter course was preferred by faculty but has limited seating so all students would be unlikely able to take the UA course.  To provide space in the curriculum, the UGSC recommended allowing the students to select taking either the second course in physics (Physics 241 – Electricity and Magnetism) or chemistry (CHEM 152 – General Chemistry II) rather than both courses as currently required. This recommendation was approved by the CEEM faculty to take effect students entering the program in the Fall 2010.


In recognition that our surveying course was not state of the practice primarily due to equipment, in summer 2009 the department head met with Mr. Jack Buchanan, the course instructor in an extended meeting to discuss how the course could brought to current standards. Transit and theodolite applications were to be dropped and replaced with total station technology.  However, additional equipment was needed.  Mr. Buchanan worked with local surveyors to obtain the necessary equipment.  The new equipment provides for electronic data collection which opens up additional time for instruction and new lab exercises. A new syllabus including new laboratory exercises and altered course content is in preparation for the fall semester.

 During the 2000 curriculum revision, the design experience was expanded from being only in senior courses to the junior year through an additional unit in the introductory courses in the four civil engineering areas.  The Structures area continued with a full design course. The QFD (Table 3-4) for AY2009-10 and earlier has a gap in design emphasis during the sophomore year. Therefore, an additional objective in modifying surveying (and engineering graphics – see below) was to add an elementary design component in the sophomore year.  With the freshman course, ENGR 102, the result would be a design experience that had a component in all four years. To that end, a new lab exercise was included to design the layout of a sewer pipe with constraints on pipe size, manhole elevations, and spacing between a water line and a construction cost estimate. Also, a parking lot grading plan design lab was added which includes a “field to finish” concept for the students.  Additional connections between surveying and engineering graphics will be identified as changes to the graphics course are implemented.

Engineering Graphics

Prior to AY2009-10, the CEEM department was responsible for teaching engineering graphics for the majority of the College of Engineering. In AY2009-10, the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Dept. expanded their capacity to teach a drawing course that was more appropriate for mechanical and aerospace engineering students.  The CEP course, CE210, would now be taken primarily by CEP students.  This change allowed the course to be more focused on CE CAD applications (Civil 3D) rather than mechanical drawing (i.e., AutoCad 3D).  Further, a number of elements in the lecture component of CE210 were outdated such as a significant effort on hand drawing. 

With guidance from the AIC and practitioners from Psomas Engineering, the Salt River Project and the WLB Group (Jack Buchanan) and a group of students experienced in Civil 3D, a new course was organized that will introduce AutoCad 2D for 2-3 weeks then shift entirely to Civil 3D.  A set of lectures on sketching, drawing and reading plans, acquiring and importing spatial and land development basics will also be included. A new course emphasis is communication of engineering ideas to other engineers, contractors, and architects. A relatively simple site development project will be completed in steps during the semester including lot and roadway layout, pipe locations and simple grading. The syllabi of the old and revised courses are given in Appendix M.

A goal of the revised course is to provide students tools that can be used in practice and in later CEP courses.  Mr. Buchanan was part of the team due to his CAD experience but also to identify links to the Surveying course.  He will begin to require assignments to be completed in CAD and envisions new exercises to import digital elevation data through total stations to Civil 3D and used for basic site layout.  Several opportunities for requiring CAD in 300 level courses (CE363), technical electives (e.g., CE466, 423, 427) and the capstone design sequence have also been identified.  This improvement will benefit technical communication and the use of modern tools as well as better preparing our graduates for practice.

Capstone Design Course

The CEP capstone design sequence has undergone numerous changes over the past two decades. In the most significant changes since the last general review, the two courses, Issues in Professional Practice (CE408) and Senior Design (CE498), were merged into a two course sequence, rather than being taught as independent courses. During the first semester, the design project is introduced, preliminary designs are developed, a statement of qualifications/proposal is prepared, and a formal proposal presentation is made by each project team. Professional issues are introduced during a Monday lecture. The second semester focuses on preparing a more detailed design and combining components into a complete system. In the last 5 years, Mr. Michael Mathieu, a practicing licensed engineer, has led the class.  A land development project is given to all teams with slightly different design specifications and includes hydraulic/hydrology, geotechnical, structural and transportation components. The project is given to the students with specifications of building and its uses, topographic data and soil borings.  In a one semester course, students struggled to assess the project, collect data and develop a quality design.  The two semester format improves the final product and student understanding.

The continuity of instructor has improved the quality of the course as Mr. Mathieu better understood expectations and dealing with student uncertainties by providing information, not answers.  Next fall (AY2010-11), additional issue classes will be introduced including understanding the broader implications of a civil engineering project by emphasizing sustainability and life cycle assessment.

This change is mature and documented in terms of the desired result. However, measuring the change is difficult as what to data collect and analyze is not clear cut and baseline data was not available prior to the change.  As noted in outcome g, feedback from external evaluators is that projects are more professional and have better depth in the design product.  Thus, we consider this project as a successful demonstration of closing the loop on an improvement.

Course Content and Delivery Improvements

Since the last general review, a number of course have been modified to improve learning, update material, or add a design component.  Some sections of Statics (CE 214) have used publisher on-line problem sets and grading that allowed TAs to focus on problem recitations and improved overall learning. Similarly, an on-line companion text has been developed for Mechanics of Materials by Prof. Frantziskonis as a second resource for students.  These changes have resulted in a dramatic improvement in the class average GPA (Table 4-3).  As seen the past two semesters have seen the highest GPA in the review period by a significant difference.  This finding will be confirmed next year to document the success of this improvement.

As packaged computer software becomes more pervasive, the need for civil engineers to code using traditional computer languages has been reduced. Our numerical methods course has shifted to applying Matlab, a high-level language and interactive environment that can model computationally intensive tasks faster than traditional programming languages such as C, C++, and Fortran.  However, for a practicing CE spreadsheets are often the tool of choice.  Our students are acquainted with Excel and its general capabilities in ENGR 102 during the freshman year. Given its power and built-in functionality, we will be shifting some exercises in CE303 (Numerical Methods) to Excel in Fall 2010. 

Table 4-3: Improvement in Statics (CE214) Course Grades


Class average GPA


























Design in the required junior level has evolved from a set of small design exercises to a semester long design project. This approach forces students to identify and solve bigger picture problems (outcome e) and design a system, rather than a set of components (outcome c).

To maintain currency with practice, most structural design courses have updated their design codes including steel (CE 334 and 432), wood and masonry (CE 434), and concrete (CE 334 and 437).  Similarly, the latest IBC codes have been used in the foundations course (CE 440).

New technical electives offerings have been developed by new faculty that take advantage of their expertise including:

  • Open channel flow (CE 422) Reintroduction with a stronger design emphasis
  • Special Topics in Hydraulics and Water Resources (CE 429) – used for Computational Methods in Hydraulics
  • Behavior and Design of Structural System (CE 438)
  • Ground Improvement – (CE 442)
  • Geoenvironmental Engineering (CE 445) – new emphasis on environmental remediation, recycling and waste reuse
  • Public Transit Planning and Operations (CE 462A)
  • Special Topics in Transportation Engineering (CE 460)


Given the importance of communications stated by industry and alumni in earlier surveys, the CEP attempted to improve that skill in our graduates.  The Communications course (CE 301) has had numerous instructors with varying emphases.  Early efforts (2000-2005) focused on technical writing. In 2005, the syllabi began to converge but students generally were not pleased with the course.  We were fortunate to identify a retired communications professor, Russ Andaloro, who had experience working in technical fields.  In 2006-08, he brought the course forward to examine multiple levels of communication with several speaking opportunities developed in teams. Students, by and large, are pleased with the course and its benefits to them and their classmates (when instructed by Mr. Andaloro). In Fall 2009, he was unavailable and although using a similar syllabus, the temporary instructor was not accepted due to personality issues and perceived lack of focus on the course content.  Mr. Andaloro will return in Fall 2010.  His teaching and experience have made a significant change in speaking abilities of our students (see Outcome g).  The dilemma of this improvement being associated with a specific instructor must be resolved.

Oral communications are also practiced in the senior design sequence and have benefited from presentations at the end of each semester.  Feedback from CE408 and 498 reviewers commended the improvement in quality between semesters for the same teams and years between classes.

Accelerated Masters Program

In response to the ASCE call for the entrance degree for professional licensure to be the Masters or BS plus 30 units and to provide more opportunities for advance studies for CEP students, the CEEM faculty have approved an Accelerated Masters Program (AMP).  The CEP AMP is consistent with UA guideline for AMPs.  Well qualified students (i.e., GPA>3.3) may take 6 or (i.e. GPA >3.6) 9 units of their technical electives from acceptable, usually dual listed, graduate courses.   These courses would be applied to their BS and MS degrees and reduce the number of unique graduate level courses needed to complete the MS degree. It is anticipated that one additional year of coursework/thesis project would be necessary to complete the MS after completing the Bachelor’s degree.  After this option was announced, an informal meeting attracted 12-15 undergraduate students.  The program will be initiated in Fall 2010.   

3. Student Centered Improvements


Advising was noted in previous reviews and improvements made include revision of the undergraduate manual in the Fall 2006 ( , advising for probationary and at-risk students (Section 1.B), and the change in the advising/mentoring system that will be adopted in Fall 2010 (Section 1.C). Finally, the permanent advanced standing flow chart was introduced in AY2004 in response to faculty concerns about inconsistent decision making between advisors regarding acceptance criteria and to better guide students. As a result of these changes, we have only 6 students facing an additional semester of probation or disqualification after Spring 2010 of the over 100 students in the College of Engineering.  Success in reducing the number of at-risk students is measured in these low numbers and either an improved result in the CEP or a decision to leave civil engineering for a major in which the student can be a success.  Several students that were at risk in gaining advanced standing communicated with the program coordinator that they were happier and had decided to move to other programs.  Therefore, to some degree our approach of nurturing and demonstrating our desire for their success has been successful.

Student Study Area/Lounge

Dr. Jennifer Duan as part of her NSF CAREER award made significant upgrades to the student study area including purchasing a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. Of note, although not directly related to the study area, Dr. Duan also purchased 50 graduation caps and gowns that are loaned to students for departmental pre-commencement and university graduation ceremonies.

The Spring 2010 graduating class donated new chairs to the area and the department has provided two computer stations that will be connected to the COE network and provide all engineering software including Civil 3D.  The study area is heavily trafficked between classes and creates strong social links for our students.  Wireless service is also now available in the area. 

Chi Epsilon

A UA chapter of Chi Epsilon was initiated in 2005.  The group, led by faculty advisor Dr. Robert Fleischman, was established with the intent to receive formal status in the national Civil Engineering Honor Society. They conducted themselves as a regular chapter including participating in philanthropic activities -- tutoring and designing the SCE steel bridge.  The group planned to apply for recognition but deferred until after Dr. Fleischman returns from sabbatical in Fall 2010.

WICE – CE Women Student Support Group

Dr. Jennifer Duan led an effort to provide a support group for CEP woman students given the male dominated program. The resulting organization, Women in Civil Engineering (WICE)  consists of all women students in the CEP. The goal of WICE is to maintain friendly and comfortable study environment, provide support to all women students, and facilitate mentoring relationships between faculty and students. Several senior students voluntarily serve as the officers.   

WICE meets twice per semester. WICE have started two projects: one is to establish a library in Dr Duan’s office with collections of review and tutoring books for Fundamental of Engineering (FE) Exam.  Many students have benefited from those materials and successfully passed the FE exam. The second project is to maintain a study lounge at CE 220L and CE 220K for undergraduate and graduate students. CE 220L is equipped with a refrigerator and a coffee/tea station. The coffee and tea are maintained by WICE.  A message board on the wall can be used to post messages, such as homework answers, job opportunities, meetings. CE 220K is designated as the study room for small group study, meeting and discussion.  It has a computer and two dry eraser boards. It’s decorated with several worldwide graphic maps.  WICE also purchased 35 graduation gowns available to graduating seniors. The study lounge aims to provide an opportunity for students to interact with peers and form informal mentoring relationships.  Women students also help each other through these activities.

4. Departmental Infrastructure Improvements

Centennial Celebration

CEEM is one of the oldest departments in the University and celebrated its Centennial in 2005.  The degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering was authorized by the Board of Regents in 1905.  The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, authorized in 1957 and 1959, respectively, are among the earliest graduate degrees offered through the College of Engineering.  Leading up to 2005, the Department organized a series of events to commemorate the founding. 

The most significant goal of the effort was to reconnect with a broad section of our external constituents. This event provided a central visible focus that could attract alumni and friends. The Centennial Committee was comprised of alumni and friends of the department with a departmental faculty and staff. The committee hosted a series of activities including events (tours and dinners/lunches) in Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Distinguished and Young Alumni awards were developed and individuals selected for acknowledgement. Activities were announced in a series of flyers and newsletters and our website. A departmental history was prepared by emeritus faculty led by a local engineer. The resulting document was over 123 pages and included a CD with photographs.

The signature event of the Celebration was Homecoming weekend November 2005.  The department hosted the Arizona Section Annual Conference, a Gala cocktail hour and dinner attended by over 500 people, a golf tournament, and a tailgate prior to the homecoming game.  Alumni and department friends were integral in the success of all of the events.  Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Young Alumni and Centennial Professors were honored at the Gala.

A fundraising campaign was conducted as part of the Centennial Celebration to bring funds that would assist the department upgrade laboratory and other facilities.  The effort was led by two alumni and supported by the COE and department.  Over $250K was raised for an endowment fund and in unrestricted monies. 

The Homecoming Barbeque is now an annual event that is hosted each year on homecoming weekend and has continued to grow with over 125 people attending in 2010.  The Centennial luncheon is a biennial event (in odd years).  Alumni and Professor awards are distributed as recognition for outstanding careers at the luncheon.  In 2009, the first Centennial lecture was presented by Raymond HoldsworthVice Chairman of AECOM, and attended by over 100 alumni and students.  The lecture will be given on a one or two year cycle.

Differential Tuition 

As noted above, differential tuition is applied to all students who have earned advanced standing.  In AY2009-10, the fee was $300 per semester and was increased to $600 per semester in AY2010-11.  Approximately 65% of these funds are returned to the CEP. Through this year, a committee consisting of the department head, one faculty member, faculty laboratory committee members, and representatives from the student organizations meet to decide on appropriate expenditures.  These include new laboratory equipment, adjunct faculty salaries, and support for SCE travel to the regional conference.  With the AY2010 budget reduction, these funds will be necessary for TA and grader support.

Mohr’s Circle

Mohr’s Circle was begun to provide a mechanism for local industry to support the CEP.  Individual and corporate membership is $1000 per year. Over time the number of participants has increased the current 19 members. These funds are discretionary funds but are used primarily for adjunct faculty salaries to teach communications, surveying and senior design. A campaign to expand the Circle is underway with leadership of the AIC.

Office Improvements

To improve student access, improve the image of the department, provide a central home for the students and department and security for personnel and research project records, the CEEM main office was reorganized in summer 2008. The entrance area was moved to a separate area after the room was painted and carpeted.  A couch and Civil Engineering literature is made available and photos of our CEEM Centennial award winners are displayed in the entrance area. An advising room was added off the entrance that secured student records and provided a private space to discuss student issues and advising.

Facility and Laboratory Improvements

Computer facilities in the main CE laboratory and in the transportation computing lab are also described in Section 7.A.  Improvements to the undergraduate geotechnical, hydraulic, materials and surveying labs are described in Section 7.A.  In addition to physical upgrades, more efforts are being made to ensure a quality laboratory experience through TA training/feedback.  TAs must take a teacher training course (Graduate Assistant Training Orientation or GATO -  Within the department, they are debriefed at the end of the semester to provide feedback on their efforts from the Department Head and to ensure that the department knows about equipment difficulties.  Next fall, the faculty advisor of the TA will be assigned the course to provide the TA a means to correct problems during the semester and to provide support by having a faculty responsible for oversight.


[1] Barrett, S., W. LeFevre, J. Steadman, J. Tietjen, K. White, D. Whitman, (2010), “Using the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Examination as an outcomes assessment tool,” NCEES publication. (



Updated date: Tue, 07/19/2016 - 11:14