By Colleen Carow
A partnership that enhances Ohioans' graduate education options in civil engineering will bring a new doctoral program to Ohio University's Russ College of Engineering and Technology and expanded course offerings and research opportunities to Case Western Reserve University's Case School of Engineering.
Five years in the making, the new Ph.D. program is the first collaboration on a civil engineering doctoral program in Ohio. Faculty from both universities will teach courses, cooperate in research endeavors and serve on dissertation committees.
Ohio University's course offerings will be available this fall, with distance-learning options to be offered to students of both universities starting next spring.
The distance learning technology will enable students at Case Western Reserve, which already offers a doctorate in civil engineering, to take Ohio University courses. They also will have access to Ohio University's Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment, a leader in transportation research, and its facilities and equipment. That includes the Accelerated Pavement Load Facility in Lancaster, in which researchers can simulate years of pavement wear in a matter of weeks, and a cone penetrometer truck, which enables analysis of subsurfaces up to 100 feet.
Through the new doctoral program, Ohio University students will choose from four concentration areas: structures, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering and transportation. More than 70 courses, including some offered jointly by the two universities, will cover structures, soils, pavement design, traffic, water, treatment, environmental topics, bridge design, theoretical subjects and more.
The collaboration will help prepare students to fill a national demand for civil engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers notes that as the conditions of America's highways and bridge infrastructure degrade, the demand for civil engineers will rise. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that civil engineering employment in Ohio will grow 12 percent or more through 2012.
Neil D. Thomas Professor Gayle Mitchell, chair of the Russ College's Department of Civil Engineering, said the new program will provide Ohioans with another option for continuing their advanced education in state.
"We'll be educating a new generation of professionals for the private sector, governmental sector and civil engineering faculty positions," Mitchell said. "The program also provides our current faculty the opportunity to significantly increase their scholarly output in terms of refereed publications and externally funded awards."
Robert L. Mullen, Neff Professor and chair of Case Western Reserve's Department of Civil Engineering, said the collaboration could inspire other institutions. "We look forward to building this new program over the next few years as a prototype for graduate educational partnerships across Ohio," he said.
Ohio University doctoral students studying in the environmental/geotechnical area of the Russ College's current integrated engineering Ph.D. program will transition into the new civil engineering program.
Applications are being accepted at www.ohio.edu/graduate/.
Updated July 24, 2008.