NSF Red —Transforming Curriculum, Culture and Community

March 7, 2019

The National Science Foundation Revolutionary Engineering Departments (RED) is now in its second year. Over the last year, faculty and staff have collaborated with university personnel as well as industry stakeholders to develop programming and curricula for our undergraduate students. The overarching goal of our (RED) program is to transform the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University to be responsive to the rapidly evolving complex challenges of highly interconnected and interdependent infrastructure systems, and to meet the changing societal needs of the 21st century. The solutions for today’s engineering problems require innovation embedded within societal context. Our transformation involves our curriculum, our culture, and our community to achieve innovation, adaptability, and shared vision.

Civil engineering departments must adapt to educate a new breed of civil engineers who can (1) think beyond disciplinary boundaries, (2) identify the natural inter-dependencies among infrastructure systems, and (3) effectively collaborate on heterogeneous teams to minimize the effects of threats and maximize the opportunities societies face. The desired outcome of the multifaceted research program is the creation of a low cost, scalable, replicable academic change framework grounded in complexity leadership theory.

The Arch and its construction are symbolic of our curricular transformation. The image demonstrates how the arch is built upon a firm foundation of interpersonal relationships established through CE-MENT, our peer mentoring program. The formwork and scaffolding are provided by faculty, staff, alumni, and industry partners to support the student throughout their education. The Sophomore Springer courses provide opportunities to engage in Civil Engineering projects early in the program and kickstart development of technical and professional skills.

The “Springer 1 course introduces a real world land development problem. This semester the class is built around redesigning a sloped gravel parking

lot near campus to bring it up to local design code standards. The students are being introduced to the Civil Engineering design process including identification of stakeholders, specification of requirements, creative problem solving, site layout, stormwater management, cost estimating, and construction scheduling. In parallel the students are learning the basics of oral communication and will apply those skills in their interaction with the real stakeholders for this project and in presenting their final designs.

Springer 2, the second required course in the curriculum initiates building a test structure to failure build and break and will focus on Structural, Geotechnical and Construction Materials. This course is still in developmental stages, and will be offered in the fall.