Noah Salzman, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a new project designed to transform undergraduate engineering education. The three-year grant provides nearly $600,000 to support curriculum development.
The goal of Salzman’s project is to integrate concepts of sustainable and resilient design into engineering and construction management curricula. Sustainable engineering designs balance economic, ecological and societal needs by being responsive to community impact, public health and the environment. Resilient designs are durable. In adverse situations, they continue to function, resist damage and recover quickly. Students need training and hands-on experience applying these concepts to their engineering solutions.
To help students develop these design skills, Salzman’s team plans to develop a set of active learning modules that incorporate sustainable and resilient design concepts. These modules will be deployed in existing upper- and lower-division courses across multiple engineering degree programs. A new interdisciplinary junior-level engineering design course also will be developed, using project-based learning to advance the use of sustainable and resilient design in multiple disciplines.
College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Lighty expressed appreciation for Salzman’s project, noting “design is an important part of sustainability and under the direction of Dr. Salzman, this grant will encompass electrical engineering, construction management, ENG+, mechanical, and civil engineering design courses and faculty. This project will help us teach our students how to address societal challenges as the next generation of engineering professionals.”
This project is driven by the need for engineers who can design solutions that maximize societal benefit while minimizing costs and environmental impacts.
“Creating sustainable and resilient engineering designs is a critical skill for our students to develop,” said Salzman. “They have to learn to balance economic, environmental and social factors in order to create lasting solutions.”
Engineers who use principles of sustainability and resiliency in their designs are in increasing demand. The next generation of engineers needs to be able to produce sustainable and resilient solutions. Salzman’s project will ensure students have the opportunity to develop these skills and gain hands-on experience by the time they graduate.
This project builds on the successes of a prior award led by Bhaskar Chittoori in civil engineering, who will continue to play an important role in this new project. Other Boise State faculty involved on the project include Kirsten Davis from construction management, Amy Moll from materials science and engineering, Don Plumlee from mechanical and biomedical engineering, and Thad Welch from electrical and computer engineering. In addition to the aforementioned faculty from the College of Engineering, associate professor Dazhi Yang from the College of Education will serve as the external evaluator for this project.
– By Jenn Ambrose