Welcome to our 2020 newsletter. This issue includes a recap of our Spring semester, a semester like none other with the global pandemic and sudden shift to remote instruction, in addition to some highlights from the fall. As expected, our students, alumni, faculty, and staff have demonstrated perseverance and resilience. Our faculty have stepped up with innovative methods for student engagement and learning, and cutting-edge research. And our students have responded, moving forward in their coursework, graduating, and launching successful careers.

Engineering rates higher than most other professions in terms of perceived honesty, trust, and ethics. This perception is now more important than ever. And it’s especially incumbent on civil and environmental engineers to keep it this way, given our first priority: the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Part of our department’s mission is to graduate students with “extraordinary character”. Extraordinary character manifests as a positive force in all situations. We model it with our academic excellence and professional integrity, as well as how we interact with everyone around us.

During the spring, we also bid farewell to Carmalita Govan, our Graduate Advisor who was very well liked due to her competence and ability to get things done. Carmalita accepted a promotion in the College of Computing and Informatics. And while we will miss Carmalita, we are thrilled to have Jessica Waldman as her replacement. We had a competitive search and Jessica was unanimously selected by students, faculty, and staff. The same applies to Dr. Timothy Kernicky who, after a competitive national search, joins our structural engineering faculty as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Kernicky has been teaching in our department since 2018.

Two long-time faculty, Professors Jim Bowen and Marty Kane began phased retirement during the fall 2020 semester. Fear not, however, because Drs. Bowen and Kane will remain active in our department for the next three years, as per their “half-time” plans. In other exciting news, our department is inching closer to offering a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. There are a number of approvals yet to secure, but initial assessments from external consultants and university administration are exceedingly positive. We hope to have a program in place by Fall 2021.

Be well, especially so during what we’re calling the “NEW NORM”, as in Norm the Niner! Please stay in touch with us on Facebook at