Training the Next Generation of Environmental Engineers: Development of an Interdisciplinary Engineering Program at Rutgers University

By Christopher Uchrin.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes the successful development at Rutgers University (USA) of an holistic, science-based, interdisciplinary undergraduate Bioenvironmental Engineering (BEE) Program. Traditionally, Environmental Engineering (EE) Programs have evolved as specialty areas embedded within larger, traditional engineering departments (i.e., Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering). Our approach was to formulate a unique, stand-alone program as an outgrowth of a more programmatically relevant and interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (ES) Department. This approach has the distinct advantage of not being constrained by the requirements of the host department. This is of particular importance since it is becoming increasingly apparent that the world's environmental problems are indeed multi-faceted and interdisciplinary. Furthermore, most EE programs in the USA are, in fact, media (air, water and land) focused. Drawing upon the greater interdisciplinary breadth of the Rutgers University's ES Department has fostered the development of BEE into a more holistically and interdisciplinary curriculum. The BEE Program is accredited as an EE Program by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and as such, has formulated an extensive assessment program. Relevant results will be presented to demonstrate the program's success and effectiveness.

Keywords: Environmental Engineering, Undergraduate Education, Emerging Issues

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.53-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 597.815KB).

Dr. Christopher Uchrin

Director and Professor, Bioenvironmental Engineering Program, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Dr. Uchrin has been a Professor at Rutgers University since 1980. He has performed research on the mathematical modelling of contaminants in aquatic ecosystems and has published over 100 technical articles. He received his B.E. in Civil Engineering (1972) and M.E. in Environmental Engineering (1974) from Manhattan College and his Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (1980) from the University of Michigan. He served as the Director of RU’s Graduate Program in Environmental Science from 1986 to 1991, Chair of RU’s Department of Environmental Sciences from 1991 to 1994 and is now the Director of the Undergraduate Program in Bioenvironmental Engineering (since 1999). In 1992, he and Dr. Paul Lioy of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) established the first doctoral program in Exposure Science, a Joint Program of UMDNJ and RU. Dr. Uchrin is an Associate Editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’s Journal of Environmental Engineering and is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A: Toxic/Hazardous Substances & Environmental Engineering and the Polish Academy of Science’s Archives of Environmental Protection. He has been a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of New York since 1977.


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