Business and Professional Practices
Full Session with Abstracts
A next generation of civil/structural engineers will have opportunities and challenges commensurate in scale with the worldwide disruptive megatrends that are directly affecting our profession. Issues related to population growth; urbanization; informatics; scarcity of resources, food, and water; impact of climate change; environmental health; and enhanced security are trends that deserve our direct attention as we address design and practice of the built environment. We are at an important juncture both in academia and industry to understand the relationship of these trends with research and education. In this presentation, we will discuss several key initiatives that highlight the integration of resilience and sustainability into the research and education thrusts of an academic program. Within our program, a transdisciplinary systems perspective centered on Urban Engineering has fueled these initiatives. In the last decade, related to these topics, we have developed interdisciplinary research and education thrusts within the department; initiated several new degree programs; hired several faculty with joint appointments in departments in other colleges to foster a deep commitment to interdisciplinary research and education, and recruited students at all levels who are interested in pursuing important topics related to resilience and sustainability within civil and structural engineering. As examples, new master’s degree programs are now available in Sustainable Building Systems, and in Engineering and Public Policy with concentrations in Infrastructure Resilience and Energy and Environment. During the summers, our undergraduates are led overseas by faculty to take experiential courses directly related to resilience and sustainability. Innovation threads and experiential education on key topics have been integrated into the curriculum. The presentation will also highlight several transdisciplinary research initiatives and highlight their relation to structural engineering, including innovative sustainable and resilient design approaches for structures; modeling of collapse ranging from disproportionate collapse of structures to simulation of cascading failures of networks; modeling and control of energy use across systems to create new design strategies; systemic modeling and design for urban coastal regions; use of robotics or ubiquitous sensing data for assessing damage in structures and response for extreme events; incorporation of social science and community behavior in engineering design; development of resilient design frameworks for the built environment; and understanding institutional priorities, system-wide objectives and financial or policy incentives and impediments, via the systematic use of data acquisition and interpretation and network science and optimization.