Incorporating Geo-Sustainability Concepts in Shrinking Geotechnical Curricula and the New FE Requirements

Nick Hudyma, University of North Florida
John Woolschlager, St. Louis University


Introducing sustainability concepts into geotechnical education makes good sense since civil engineering projects are energy intensive and geotechnical engineers are involved early in civil engineering projects. There are two major deterrents for incorporating sustainability concepts: The majority of the 240 ABET accredited Bachelor of Science in civil engineering programs require only a single geotechnical engineering course and students must be introduced to fifteen geotechnical topics to be adequately prepared for the FE exam. Geo-sustainability is presented as four independent categories of geo-planning, optimization of the underground environment, effective and innovative use of geo-materials and natural hazard mitigation. Each category is described and examples are provided. Comparing the geotechnical engineering topics of the FE exam and geo-sustainability examples from each geo-sustainability category, it is possible to introduce sustainability concepts into a single geotechnical engineering course while still coving all FE topics. Some geo-sustainability concepts must be introduced as lecture topics while others can be introduced as problem solving exercises.