Message from the Department Chair
Thank you for taking a moment to visit the web site of the Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) department at UCLA.
In July 2012, I was honored to be appointed as the 8th Department Chair. I take the reins from Professor JS Chen, who led the department through a successful 5-year term in which CEE experienced substantial growth in its undergraduate and graduate student body, the appointment of two new faculty, and further strengthening of the department’s reputation, impact, and ranking. Let’s take a moment to examine the state of our department.
Our enrollment continues to climb despite increasingly rigorous admissions standards. For the 2012 Freshman class, we received over 1300 applications for approximately 75 positions. As a school, we receive more applications for Freshman admission into Engineering than any public university in the US (2nd in California after Stanford). As a result, the student body (among the top in the nation in academic credentials) is a remarkable group of exceptionally bright, ambitious, and hard-working students who are hungry for a top-flight engineering education. Our students find a diverse curriculum that emphasizes both traditional and emerging areas of Civil and Environmental Engineering, while simultaneously developing experimental, communication, and leadership skills.
A major strength of our department is a truly outstanding faculty, many in the early stages of their careers, who have become some of the brightest minds in the Civil and Environmental Engineering discipline nationwide. We produce on average 0.75 Ph.D. students per faculty member per year, which is among the highest rates in the world. We are also among the top programs world-wide in research funding, journal paper production, and journal paper citations on a per-faculty basis.
Both of the junior faculty in our department, Shaily Mahendra and Gaurav Sant, have received the highly prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2012. These awards will fund their research endeavors into scientifically challenging problems of great importance to Civil Engineering infrastructure and the environment. Professor Mahendra is investigating how environmental microbes use specific enzymes to detoxify hazardous chemicals, such as 1,4-dioxane, which are currently unregulated but are emerging as contaminants in drinking water supplies. Professor Sant is developing alternatives to traditional Portland cement as the binder in concrete, which is of enormous importance to producing a more sustainable infrastructure when it is recognized that cement production accounts for 6 to 9% of anthropogenic global CO2 emissions. We’ll have more to say about this and other exciting research initiatives in future newsletters.
As Chair, I am committed to strengthening CEE’s position as a domestic and international leader in Civil Engineering education, research, and service. As always, the intellectual and financial support of our outstanding students, alumni, and industrial partners are essential, and we will work to further improve these relationships in the years to come.
I hope you will take a few moments to peruse our web site for information on new academic programs, faculty research, awards and other recognition received by our students and faculty, and alumni news.
Jonathan P. Stewart, Ph.D., P.E.Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering