Letter from the Dean
For 130 years, the University of Idaho College of Engineering has demonstrated excellence in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), leading innovative solutions in water resources through our world-class research centers and internationally recognized faculty.
Our college was one of the first to join forces with the National Academy of Engineering, recognizing the threat to our world’s water supply as one of the 14 grand challenges of the 21st century, and developing Idaho's only Grand Challenge Scholars Program. Our students are developing affordable, advanced technologies that provide access to clean water through this undergraduate program.
Our Center for Ecohydraulics Research (CER) in Boise has partnered with state and federal agencies to research relevant water challenges specific to our state and region, including river restoration, post-fire forest regeneration, Boise River flooding simulation and fire impact on river sediment transport and erosion.
Strengthening our commitment, we are proud to announce Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Erik Coats as our Sorenson Family Endowed Chair in Water Resources.
Erik’s research during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve wastewater testing and develop an early warning system for spikes in local cases was not only imperative to local community safety but helped set the standard for wastewater SARS-CoV-2 testing nationally.
With more than 27 years’ experience in both the private and academic sectors, Erik’s ongoing research is advancing microbial processes to upcycle organic waste, including using dairy manure to develop a form of biodegradable plastic, and enhancing our understanding of microbial wastewater treatment processes.
The Sorenson position is our fifth endowed position, and we are the only U of I college to have this many recognized faculty supported through endowments to promote research excellence.
The undergraduate and graduate research opportunities provided in Erik’s Environmental Engineering Laboratory offer research experiences like no other in the Pacific Northwest, and students can apply test processes directly in the field using our scale model at the Moscow Water Reclamation Facility.
Our undergraduate research opportunities continue to expand. Through our Al Wallace Environmental Engineering Assistantship, students earn funding toward their college education and engage in wastewater-centered research activities alongside our nationally recognized faculty. With alumni and donor support, we hope to triple the size of this program and the number of students working in hands-on water and wastewater research.
Using advanced laboratories in Moscow and at CER in Boise, our undergraduate and graduate students work alongside renowned faculty and with state agencies to address water resource challenges directly affecting our communities.
CER Co-director and Professor Daniele Tonina recently published extensive findings on the effects of climate change on regional salmon populations. I am pleased to announce Daniele was also selected as the Dean’s Distinguished Fellow, a new initiative to showcase research innovation and success by faculty and demonstrate connections to our greatest areas of regional and national need. By recognizing emerging leaders, the initiative also seeks to retain top talent by making it clear how highly they are valued.
Daniele co-directs the center with fellow professor Elowyn Yager. CER recently hired Assistant Professor Gianluca Blois, whose expertise in studying water flow in otherwise inaccessible natural environments will greatly expand CEE research capabilities across Idaho’s challenging topography.
In partnership with CEE Department Chair Fritz Fiedler, I am thrilled to announce a $7 million initiative to accelerate innovation and modernize educational infrastructure in CEE.
Through our new endowed position, growing assistantship program and recent lab modernizations, our college has raised $4 million toward this campaign to build upon the CEE Department’s reputation as a top-tier program in the Northwest.
Our civil and environmental engineering faculty are already recognized for their work in educating the most career-ready engineering graduates. In alignment with President Scott Green’s Sustainability Working Group, and with industry and alumni support, our campaign will further distinguish the department by fueling research and supporting excellent faculty, modernizing and enhancing educational facilities, providing students paid assistantship research opportunities and developing leadership and professional skills through career pathway programs.
Suzie Long, Ph.D., C.P.E.M., F.ASEM, F.IISE
Dean, College of Engineering
Janssen (JEB) 124
Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Virtual Roundtable
We are celebrating 130 years as the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Idaho!
Join Department Chair, Dr. Fritz Fiedler, and current students to celebrate this milestone and discuss our vision to distinguish the University of Idaho as the premier destination for civil and environmental engineering education.
Friday, Oct. 28, 2022
10:30 – 11 a.m. PT / 11:30 – Noon MT
Civil Engineering Steel Bridge Competition Team Takes Third at Regionals
Our civil and environmental engineering Steel Bridge Competition team took third place in 2022 regional competitions this summer.
Building Meaningful Careers in Robotics
Vandal engineers are using complex robotics to improve rehabilitative treatment for survivors of stroke. Student and faculty work is supported through the Dean and Cindy Haagenson Endowed Professorship, helping future students set a course for meaningful engineering careers.
Dean ’65 and Cindy ’72, ’82, ’87 Haagenson had a long-lasting impact in northern Idaho. Their gift helps continue their legacy of collaboration and provides a consistent source of financial resources to recruit and develop undergraduate and graduate students and hire excellent faculty.
New Opportunities for a Greener World
An international student from Nepal, Bishal Thapa became involved in research in our college his freshman year. Through our Grand Challenge Scholars Program, the only program of its kind in Idaho, he earned more than $20,000 to fund his research to build better fertilizer production processes for agriculture and help pay for his college education.