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EVEN Description

Mission Statement

The mission of the Environmental Engineering (EVEN) Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is to provide a multidisciplinary undergraduate environmental engineering education that emphasizes mastery of principles and practices, inspires service for the global public good, endows a desire for life-long learning, and prepares students for broad and dynamic career paths in environmental engineering.

Educational Objectives

The objective of the Environmental Engineering (EVEN) Program and the Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science degree is to produce graduates who are capable of reaching the following career goals three to five years after graduation:

  1. EVEN graduates have become established in professional careers and/or earned advanced degrees;
     

  2. EVEN graduates have applied multidisciplinary approaches to manage the unique challenges and balance the competing social, political, economic, and technical goals of environmental problems and solutions; and
     

  3. EVEN graduates have served the needs of our society and protected the future of our planet in an ethical manner.

These objectives reflect both the EVEN mission (above) and the mission of the University of Colorado at Boulder,

Our mission is to advance and impart knowledge across a comprehensive range of disciplines to benefit the people of Colorado, the nation, and the world by educating undergraduate and graduate students in the accumulated knowledge of humankind, discovering new knowledge through research and creative work, and fostering critical thought, artistic creativity, professional competence, and responsible citizenship.

Program Outcomes

The Environmental Engineering Program demonstrates that its graduates:
  • Have sufficient knowledge of engineering, mathematics, and science fundamentals to succeed in environmental engineering practice or advanced degrees
  • Have sufficient knowledge of advanced environmental engineering applications and complementary natural sciences to succeed in environmental engineering practice or advanced degrees
  • Have sufficient knowledge of engineering approaches to problem solving (hypothesis, design, testing; team work) to succeed in environmental engineering practice or advanced degrees
  • Have sufficient knowledge of basic engineering skills and tools (computer, laboratory, and field) to succeed in environmental engineering practice or advanced degrees
  • Have adequate writing and oral presentation skills to succeed in environmental engineering practice or advanced degrees
  • Have adequate understanding of the social, economic, political, and ethical context of environmental problems and solutions
  • Have adequate opportunity to include service at the local, state, national, or global levels as an important part of their environmental
  • engineering education, and
  • Recognize the importance of life-long learning by seeking advanced degrees and pursuing continuing education.

For annual student enrollment and graduation data, please see this college website:http://www.colorado.edu/engineering/about/facts

Overview

Environmental engineers play a vital role in maintaining the quality of both human environmental systems and the natural environment. Environmental engineering encompasses the scientific assessment and development of engineering solutions to environmental problems impacting the biosphere, land, water and air quality. Environmental issues affect almost all commercial and industrial sectors, and are a central concern for the public, for all levels of government, and in international relations. These issues include safe drinking water, wastewater processing, solid and hazardous waste disposal, outdoor air pollution, indoor air pollution and transfer of infectious diseases, human health and ecological risk management, and prevention of pollution through product or process design.

To address these challenges, environmental engineers work in a multidisciplinary arena. Solutions to many environmental problems require contributions from engineers, scientists, lawyers, business people and the public. Good communication skills, as well as technical proficiency, are essential for success in this arena. In addition, technology designed to address environmental problems is marketed globally, opening up increasing opportunities for international work in the environmental engineering field.

The Bachelors of Science degree program in Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado includes coursework in advanced mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics, as well as engineering. In common with other engineering fields, courses in solid mechanics, fluid dynamics and thermal sciences are central to the environmental engineering degree. Coursework that is specific to environmental engineering includes water and wastewater treatment, hazardous waste storage and treatment, and air pollution control. In addition, environmental engineering requires hands-on water, soil and air quality laboratory experiences, up-to-date skills in the use of computers for modeling and data analysis, and experience in the design of environmental engineering systems.

To cover the broad base of knowledge required of environmental engineers, the degree program at CU draws on the expertise of more than 20 faculty from four departments: Aerospace Engineering Sciences; Chemical and Biological Engineering; Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering; and Mechanical Engineering. The required engineering courses in the program are offered in these four departments. Technical elective courses include three selected from a broad range of science and engineering courses, and three that are organized according to tracks in water resources and treatment, air quality engineering, chemical processing, energy, environmental remediation, and applied ecology. By the beginning of their third year, students should select one of these specialization tracks or the general environmental engineering track. Students can also create their own focus track in an area of interest, such as engineering for developing communities, or another focus. Students in the program are also encouraged to participate in summer internships and in research at CU through independent study projects, senior theses,the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), or as research assistants in sponsored programs.

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Degrees Offered

The Environmental Engineering Program offers one degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering (the EVEN BS degree). The BS in Environmental Engineering is a four-year undergraduate program.

Also available is a concurrent Bachelor of Science/Master of Science degree offered in cooperation with the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, the EVEN BS/CVEN MS degree. This degree allows qualified students to begin the graduate program while completing the undergraduate program.

 

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Program History

The Environmental Engineering (EVEN) Bachelor of Science degree is delivered by a group of faculty drawn from four different departments in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (the College) at the University of Colorado at Boulder (the University). This group of faculty, associated staff, and the students pursuing the Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science degree constitute the Environmental Engineering Program. The educational mission of the Environmental Engineering Program is to provide a multi-disciplinary undergraduate environmental engineering education that emphasizes mastery of principles and practices, inspires service for the global public good, endows a desire for life-long learning, and prepares students for broad and dynamic career paths in environmental engineering.

The Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science is a relatively new degree in the College - the first students were admitted to the Environmental Engineering Program in the fall of 1998. Before then, environmental engineering was offered in the College only as options in the Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Bachelor of Science degrees. The Chemical Engineering B.S. degree offers an environmental option that focuses on separation and process technology. The Civil Engineering B.S. degree formeraly allowed students to select environmental or water resources engineering option that emphasizes water and wastewater treatment and hydrology. Due to curriculum redesign in 2006, this special option was removed and now students can select either environmental or water resources as areas of concentration (from among 5 potential concentrations in CVEN), requiring only 2 upper division courses on this topic. The Mechanical Engineering B.S. degree offers an environmental option that focuses on air pollution control and assessment. These options typically consist of specialization in a set of upper-division (junior and senior) courses following a common lower-division (freshman and sophomore) curriculum.

In the early 1990s, faculty teaching courses in the three environmental options reached a consensus that (1) environmental engineering had matured into a full-fledged discipline of its own, (2) environmental engineering intersected with the traditional disciplines of chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering, but was not adequately covered by any of disciplines alone, and (3) environmental engineering as an educational option was obscured from the view of incoming students by offering it only as options in the traditional engineering disciplines. These faculty felt that students who intended to work in environmental engineering would benefit from a curriculum designed solely for environmental engineering rather than superimposing environmental engineering options on curricula of traditional engineering disciplines. They discussed an environmental engineering curriculum drawn from the most appropriate courses available in each of the traditional engineering disciplines and supplemented by a few specific environmental engineering courses that could be developed by current faculty. At the same time, they recognized the need to maintain the existing environmental engineering options in the traditional engineering curricula for students who wanted to pursue traditional Chemical, Civil, or Mechanical Engineering degrees.

These faculty formed a College-wide committee chaired by Prof. John Daily of Mechanical Engineering that met during the 1993-1994 academic year to develop a proposal for a separate degree program in environmental engineering - the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. The proposal included a multi-disciplinary curriculum that provided a strong foundation in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and the engineering fundamentals of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer and in-depth specialization in air quality, chemical processing, or water. The proposed degree program was approved by the entire faculty of the College in the spring of 1994. The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), the organization overseeing all of the state's higher education institutions, approved the new degree program in the spring of 1998.

In approving the Environmental Engineering Program, CCHE relied on the College's intent to offer the new degree primarily with existing courses, faculty, and modest additional resources. To this end, the Program is administered by the College and operates through the participation of affiliated faculty from the Departments of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The Program is guided by a Director, a member of the faculty, and a Program Coordinator, an administrative assistant.

Students entered the Environmental Engineering Program in the fall of 1998 under the guidance of the first Director, Prof. Jana Milford of Mechanical Engineering. The first Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering was awarded in December 1999 to a student who transferred into the program as a junior. Prof. Milford initiated the formation of the Program's Advisory Board in 1999. The second Director, Prof. Joseph Ryan of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, served from fall 2001 through summer 2006. Professor Ryan led the program through two successful ABET accreditation cycles in 2002/2003 and 2005/2006. In fall 2006, Assoc. Professor Angela R. Bielefeldt became the third program director. Prof. Jana Milford returned to service as the director of the EVEN program on July 1, 2010.

During the 2000-2001 academic year, the Environmental Engineering Program reached formal agreements with the Chemical Engineering (CHEN) and Civil Engineering (CVEN) degree programs to provide dual Bachelor of Science degrees EVEN/CHEN and EVEN/CVEN. Many students wanted to earn an accredited degree in addition to the EVEN degree for which accreditation was anticipated. The College allowed the students to earn a second B.S. degree with only an additional 15 credit hours because of the substantial overlap between the two pairs of degree programs. Due to successful program accreditation, as of Fall 2006 these dual degree programs now require the standard 30 additional credit hours, as per typical College rules.

During the 2001-2002 academic year, the Environmental Engineering Program developed a concurrent "BS/MS" degree with Civil Engineering - a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering. For this concurrent degree program, the University allows students to count two graduate-level technical electives for both the BS and MS degrees, making it possible for students to complete earn both the EVEN BS and CVEN MS in five years.

In 2003, the Program's Environmental Engineering Bachelor of Science degree was officially accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. This accreditation was renewed in 2006.   Accreditation is required by registration, licensure, and certification boards.

The first "four-year" students in the program graduated at the end of the Fall 2002 semester. EVEN enrollment, inclusive of freshmen through seniors, was steady at about 40-50 students from 2001-2005. Since that time the EVEN program has experienced tremendous growth, with an expected enrollment in fall 2014 of 225 students. In fall 2008 we added a new specialization option in ENERGY. We have 100 alumni from our program who are working locally, in Colorado, across the USA, and around the world for consultants, industry, and the government.

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering complements broad interest in environmental issues across the campus. In the College of Arts and Sciences, an interdepartmental and inter-college Environmental Studies program offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in environmental policy and environmental science to about 600 students. This program has just taken in its first class of graduate students for MS and PhD degrees as well. The School of Law has a well-recognized program in natural resources defense law and water rights law. The Leeds School of Business is growing a program in sustainable development. The College of Architecture and Planning focuses on environmental design. Two well-established University of Colorado centers, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and the Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research (INSTAAR), and another program, the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (PAOS), focus on environmental themes of relevance to engineers (and some of our Program faculty participate in each of these organizations). Boulder, Colorado, is home to a host of federal laboratories that are concerned with environmental issues - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Students and faculty from our program are involved in research with each of these federal programs.

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