Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Conference Name

2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition


Our university will begin offering a freshman level course titled “Introduction to Infrastructure” in Spring 2015. A common complaint from students over the years has been that they do not have a good understanding of what civil and environmental engineering is, and what civil engineers do. One of the goals of this course is to provide students with an early exposure to the practice of civil engineering and its importance to society. Our hope is that this will provide freshman with a solid context within which to continue their studies and motivate them to continue in the program. To this end, the primary goal of the course is to introduce freshmen civil and environmental engineers to civil infrastructure. Additionally, given the current state of infrastructure in the United States, the development of this course is of particular importance to the education and development of future engineers Our course will be a 2-credit lecture course consisting of two 75-minute periods per week of about 40 students per section. It will include sections on structural systems, foundations,transportation systems, water and environmental systems, as well as a general overview of the state of infrastructure in the US, along with other topics discussed in this report. Throughout the course, we will emphasize how the quality of infrastructure directly affects the economy and security of the US, and that the next generation of civil and environmental engineers needs to be more skilled and more able to design and create sustainable infrastructure. A significant emphasis will be placed on the impacts of extreme storms on water infrastructure and the impacts of storm surge and flooding on other infrastructure. We believe the emphasis on the impacts of extreme events on civil infrastructure, and water’s impacts on civil infrastructure in general, will provide a strong point of interest with students. It is likely this interest will be even greater at our university because a majority of our students were either directly or indirectly affected by a recent extreme storm event. Additionally, as the impacts of climate change have become measurable and as climate change projections suggest increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, the need to account for climate change in design for infrastructure is becoming more clearly recognized. A fact that is vital to increase reliability and decrease the nation’s risk and vulnerability to the failure of infrastructure in the future. Finally, we are hoping that the emphasis on extreme storms will help us highlight the connection of all civil infrastructure by providing students with a unifying context.


© 2015 American Society for Engineering Education.