Chair's Welcome Message

 
fouad2014          Fouad H. Fouad, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
ffouad@uab.edu

The advent of a new year is a time for both reflection and planning. 2013 was a good year for the UAB Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, with a number of noteworthy achievements:

  • We created a strong departmental strategic plan that will guide us in the coming years.
  • Our undergraduate program maintained its high quality, with more than 50% of the students involved in experiential learning opportunities.
  • The Construction Engineering Management (CEM) online master's program continued to grow, with record enrollment and graduation rates during the year.
  • Our online programs have expanded through the development of two new online professional Master's of Engineering programs: one in Structures and one in Sustainable Smart Cities jointly with Staffordshire University.
  • The University Transportation Center partnerships with Georgia Tech and University of Florida (NCTSPM and STRIDE transportation centers) continued their research activities with significant additional funding secured from the UTCs and AL DOT.
  • The Sustainable Smart Cities research center initiated significant research and outreach activities: held an annual symposium, sponsored faculty pilot grants across the UAB campus, promoted K-12 STEM educational programs, and developed a strong relationship with the City of Birmingham.
  • We initiated a new international partnership with Staffordshire University in the UK to pursue joint research and educational programs.
  • Our Advisory Board continued to be supportive of the department in a variety of ways, and new members are targeted to join the Board during the coming year.

I am thrilled about the coming year, as it holds promise for continuing our quest for excellence in both teaching and research. We have a number of opportunities ahead of us, and the new programs we are embarking upon will require our dedicated attention to bring them to success. Of course, there will be challenges and barriers, but I am quite confident that with the efforts and abilities of our faculty, as well as the support of alumni and friends, we will be able to overcome them and move forward, making 2014 a record year.

An important task in the coming year is the effective implementation and successful execution of key components of our strategic plan. This plan articulates our shared vision — that of becoming the department of top choice for civil engineering students, faculty, and industry partners aspiring for real-world engineering experience in a metropolitan setting. We have a very productive faculty, but we need to ensure our ability to retain this talent by recruiting excellent students, offering state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities, and attracting new hires of top caliber.

With decreasing state support, gifts from individuals, companies, and foundations are becoming essential for maintaining programs and creating centers of excellence. We rely on such support to provide scholarships and secure resources for updating our facilities. Reaching out to alumni is essential for the department's quest for excellence. The Alumni Leadership Council (ALC) we established will be an excellent mechanism for supporting our undergraduate students and programs. With UAB in the midst of a fundraising capital campaign, we hope that in the coming year we will see increased gifts to the department. What is more, we plan to explore innovative partnerships with alumni and industry that will benefit our mission.

Thank you to all – faculty and students, alumni and friends, industry experts, collaborators, and partners – for your dedication and support during the past year. We are committed to continuing our efforts to make this year a success, reaching even greater accomplishments and achieving well-deserved rewards. Please feel free to stop by and chat with me about the ways in which you can contribute to the future successes of the UAB Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive 2014!

Fouad H. Fouad, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering