Dr. Andrea Welker, PE, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, delivered a “State of the Practice” talk on geotechnical engineering education at the 2012 Geo-Congress, presented by the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and held this year in Oakland, Calif., in March. She also served as a panelist at the United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) Workshop, which was held in conjunction with the Geo-Congress, where she discussed the teacher/scholar model.
According to the ASCE, the Geo-Institute brings together thousands of “scientists, engineers, technologists, and organizations interested in improving the environment, mitigating natural hazards, and economically constructing engineered facilities.” The Geo-Congress is an annual five-day meeting dedicated to ongoing professional education, student professional development, and networking opportunities.
In her “State of the Practice” talk, Dr. Welker examined the effects of K-12 outreach efforts, undergraduate and graduate education, continuing education opportunities, faculty demographics, and ASCE’s influence on the current state of geotechnical engineering education in the United States. She also outlined ongoing challenges, including falling credit-hour requirements for the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, time and resources needed to support laboratories, effectively incorporating complex topics into classes, and balancing the importance of hands-on practical experience with ever-increasing research demands.
As a panelist for the USUCGER Workshop, she explored the connection between teaching and scholarship, drawing on her experience with the teacher/scholar model at the College of Engineering. Dr. Welker discussed and invited discussion on the connections between teaching, research, and service.
This July, Dr. Welker’s expertise will be included in two scholarly journals. “How Students Spend Their Time,” co-authored with Dr. Bridget Wadzuk, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will appear in the Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. “A Side-by-Side Comparison of Pervious Concrete and Porous Asphalt,” written with James Barbis CE’10, MSCE student, and Patrick Jeffers CE ’09, MSCE student, will appear in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.