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Contact Info:
113 Anderson Hall
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

Tel: 617.627.3211
Fax: 617.627.3994
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Christopher Swan
Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)
Faculty Liaison, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University

Faculty Liaison, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life


Dr. Swan received a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT in 1994 and both Bachelor (BS) and Master (MS) of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Prior to obtaining his ScD. Dr.Swan worked for GZA Geoenvironmental, Inc., a national engineering consulting firm specializing in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering projects.

Teaching Interest

Dr. Swan currently teaches undergraduate-level courses that introduce general concepts of civil and environmental engineering (CEE 010) and geotechncial engineering (CEE 042), and a graduate-level course on soil mechanics and soil behavior (CEE 142). He has presented a number of technical seminars and guest presentations in the areas of site remediation techniques, solid waste management, environmental soil and groundwater sampling and screening techniques, and fundamental mechanics of groundwater flow.

An initiator of explicitly using service-learning in department courses, Dr. Swan continues to champion the development, implementation, and assessment of community engagement efforts in engineering education. His educational interests have led to various appointments in the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Tufts. He has also been an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education currently serving as program chair for the Community Engagement in Engineering Education constituent committee.

Research Interest

Dr. Swan's current research interests lie in the areas of engineering education, waste reuse, and unique soil behaviors. Specific research projects include:

  • Impacts of community engagement on the education of engineering students. Areas of evaluation include development of technical skills and knowledge, changes in self-efficacy, attitudes, identity, and well-being.
  • Evaluating the benefits and barriers to faculty who are involved in various community engagement in engineering education efforts.
  • Research on the reuse of fly ash from coal burning facilities with waste plastics. This has led to the development of synthetic lightweight aggregate (SLA); a new, innovative construction material that can be used in place of traditional sand and gravel (Patent Number 6,669,773).
  • Behavior of soils undergoing cycles of freezing and thawing; specifically, experimental and theoretical studies on changes in a soil's stress-strain-strength behavior.