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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Civil and Environmental Engineering News – Fall 2015

From the Chair’s Desk

Balasingam MuhunthanGreetings alumni and friends,
As I pen these words to share this latest edition of our civil and environmental newsletter, I am struck by the profound impact our program continues to have on the lives of people locally, statewide, and around the world. We are continuing to make tremendous strides in research, education, and outreach activities.

Our world-class faculty are involved in significant research activity with expenditures exceeding $8 million this past fiscal year and an associated strong graduate program with more than 140 students and post-doctoral associates. Their research contributions continue to have real-world impacts, whether in developing better materials for Washington bridges, making advances in building new environmentally friendly wood building materials for earthquake performance, or in improving the understanding of climate change effects on indoor air quality.

Our undergraduate program remains vibrant with more than 550 students. We have modernized our curriculum to meet changing societal needs and the challenges of tomorrow. Our students are best known for their hands-on, real-world work, so it’s exciting to see their participation in a real-world effort to develop sites for a future aviation biofuels industry. We are excited about the establishment of the new bachelor’s degree in construction engineering program slated to begin in fall 2016. This degree program is unique and combines the best of civil engineering and construction management. It will be the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

Our faculty continue to be recognized nationally and internationally for their research, education, and professional and outreach services, and as leaders in their respective fields. The exciting new faces joining our journey will further strengthen our programs and make transformative contributions in research and education to meet the grand challenges facing society. We are particularly excited about the addition of professors Jan Boll and Timothy Ginn to our water resources program and look forward to their contribution in greatly enhancing its reputation.

This year, we are celebrating the 125th anniversary of Washington State University. Our civil engineering program has been an integral part of WSU from its earliest days, helping to meet our important land-grant mission and providing a prepared workforce to meet societal and industry needs. The strength of our program has benefited from the generosity and support of our alumni and friends. Our alums and donors have gone on to have a large impact in Washington state and around the world, and they understand the importance of the work we do here. We are so appreciative of our alumni and donors who provide important research support for our professors, support our student clubs, or provide needed equipment and upgrades for our laboratories. Given state funding trends, your support will be even more important in the future, whether through gifts and legacies or through engaging with and promoting the department in whatever way you find fulfilling.

Our department is in very good shape, and alumni should take great pride in that, not least because the department’s reputation is dependent on your success in life; and reciprocally, the reputation of the department in the future will redound to your credit. Looking to the future, we will continue to build on the successes and strengths of our department and programs.

I welcome you to visit us, especially if you have not been in the Palouse region for awhile, as a lot has changed for the better on the campus and the community over the past decade. In the meantime, please stay in touch by visiting our webpage or reach us via email. I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best and Go Cougs!
Balasingam Muhunthan