Chair's message

Fall 2020

Dear CEE alumni and friends,

Although the 2020 fall semester brings unprecedented change to our campus, it also brings the routines of academic life. In September, we welcomed undergraduate and graduate students back to campus with a mix of hybrid and remote learning. From my own teaching, I am energized by the student interactions in my in-person lecture and also impressed with the collaborative technology tools we have all learned to use in my virtual computer lab.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the School of Engineering, and Tufts University have reaffirmed our commitments to making Tufts an anti-racist institution at every level – and to meaningful actions that will eradicate structural racism. Our student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) hosted a town hall on diversity, equity and inclusion in civil and environmental engineering. That event led to follow-up conversations and actions throughout the School of Engineering and within our department, which continue in a coordinated discussion on integrating social justice and equity across the curriculum. We will highlight existing curricular efforts such as those found in Professor Lantagne’s class on Public Health Engineering and Professor Ramsburg’s class in Resilient and Sustainable Societies, and expand efforts across the CEE curriculum.

While laboratory research slowed during the spring curtailment of campus activities, research and innovation continued. The end of the fiscal year showed CEE with a 25% increase in research expenditures. Professors Durant and Hudda jumped into action to collect air quality data in Boston and surrounding communities when traffic decreased to an unprecedented level this spring. At the same time, Professors Pickering and Lantagne have used their expertise on disease transmission and health impacts to collect data aimed at better understanding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The department continues to make strides in offshore wind and data science. Professors Moaveni, Hines, and Kuchma launched new projects related to offshore wind infrastructure, including a new PhD program and a new postbaccalaureate offering in offshore wind energy engineering. Professors Islam and Lamontagne, in partnership with other Tufts faculty, were recently awarded a new NSF award on data-driven decision making to address complex problems. Also this year, we welcomed Assistant Professor Deborah Sunter to the department. Professor Sunter’s research uses computational modeling and data science to explore the interface of technology innovation and policy for improved environmental sustainability.

As we continue to build connection across our Tufts CEE community, please join us for our Friday seminars. We will hold our winter Alumni/Student Networking Event virtually – so stay posted.  Our CEE community continues to anticipate and respond to the emerging challenges of our changing world at the intersection of infrastructure, the environment, and people. Read on, and visit our website at engineering.tufts.edu/cee, to learn more about the recent activities and accomplishments of our community.

Sincerely,

Laurie Gaskins Baise
Professor and Chair