Chair's Message May 2017

I hope this edition of our CivilTalk finds you enjoying a beautiful Spring with your families and friends and that your professional pursuits are blossoming like the flowers and trees around you. Here at the home base we continue to turn out excellent students and research publications. Please enjoy perusing our annual list of refereed publications and research grants. Our faculty are hard-working and dedicated to creating new knowledge to share with our students. You’ll see highlighted in this issue some very interesting work from Dr. Franke and Dr. Scott, our Assistant Professors that I introduced to you a few years ago. Both are doing amazing things in their fields of research AND in the classroom, where students rate them very highly for their ability to teach and communicate.

We invite you to send memories and thanks to Dr. Rick Balling who is retiring next month after many years of stellar service at BYU. You can do so at our CE blogsite at

What captures our attention that you should know about?

  • Construction on the new engineering building is progressing very rapidly. You can view live construction cameras at We are scheduled to occupy the building in time for the Fall 2018 semester. Work, however, will impact us within a month as a few exterior office walls will be broken out to prepare for the bridge between the two buildings. In the mean time we will be remodeling some of our student spaces in the Clyde building to accommodate the growing number of graduate students in our department.
  • Our new classes, CE En 114 (Geomatics) and 201 (Infrastructure and Sustainability), were taught this past year and while overall satisfaction was high, we’ve learned some important lessons to incorporate into the courses in the Fall.
  • Our capstone program under the direction of Dr. Wayne Lee is receiving rave reviews from our clients. Thirteen projects were recently completed amidst praise for the technical work and professional quality of the reports. Our advisory committee and Dr. Lee are doing wonderful work for our students.
  • Our study abroad programs are changing and reaching out to more of our students. In 2018 we’ll debut a program to Europe for our sophomores, leaving intact our senior-based program to the Dominical Republic. Drs. Grant, Jones, and Ames are leading the way to Europe while Dr. Nelson continues his excellent work in the “DR.”
  • Our scholarship society has finally been given permission to conduct a formal fundraising effort. Our goal is to double our almost $5 million endowment by the time we move into the new engineering building. We’re off to a good start with about $200,000 donated so far.

The fundraising effort will feature a new wrinkle – an app for your phone that allows change from purchases to be rounded up to the nearest dollar with the change going directly to our endowment!