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TCEP 177: Civil Engineering Education and Ph.D. Programs in Civil Engineering

In this episode, that is part of our Women in Civil Engineering (WICE) series, I talk to Eva Lantsoght, Ph.D., a Full Professor at San Francisco de Quito & Assistant Professor at the Delft University of Technology.  We talk about civil engineering education and how it differs throughout several countries. Eva also touches on the impact of COVID-19 on education and provides some advice for engineers considering pursuing their studies and a Ph.D. later in their careers. Engineering Quotes: Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Eva: How are the civil engineering education programs structured differently through the US, Ecuador, Belgium, and the Netherlands? What are some of the lessons you learned from teaching online since the pandemic? You have researched with a group of international colleagues on the impact of COVID-19 on academic parents. Please share with us what some of these outcomes were? What are some of the challenges you have faced of being a woman in the civil engineering industry? What are some of the differences in the status of candidates funding for a Ph.D. across different countries? What advice can you provide younger female engineers considering returning to the academic world to further their degrees? What can someone expect when they decide to do their Ph.D. later in their career, and what are some of the challenges and benefits of being a mid- or late-career student? What advice can you give young women in civil engineering looking to become a leader in their field? Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Civil Engineering Education and Ph.D. Programs in Civil Engineering: There is a variety of philosophies when it comes to civil engineering education. Some countries teach things in the opposite order than in other countries. Some topics taught in normal Ph.D. courses in some countries can be moved to a master’s level in other countries. The length of the programs is also different depending on the country. Many campuses have been completely closed and teaching online for the duration of the pandemic. It caused a shift in the way the teaching is done. All physical teaching material had to be rethought and made into digital teaching material. The focus needed to shift from getting modules done to what can be achieved with the learners every semester. It brought about the importance of teaching the teachers how to teach online successfully. When going through a change, providing support, and putting in the time to develop and talk about how to teach best in an online environment is extremely important because it is vastly different from teaching in the classroom environment. It takes a lot longer to prepare for online classes. Consider how to get interaction with your students and how you will show the material effectively. People's cognitive capacity is less because of the fatigue caused by sitting behind a screen all day. Moms and dads both have the same level of hardships in being academic parents. The mid-career faculty, the social professors, are experiencing the most pressure because they still need to do their research while trying to be there for the Ph.D. and masters' students they supervise. You can experience feelings of not belonging as a woman in the civil engineering industry. It is caused by the civil engineering field being more male dominant. It can also happen when moving into the faculty sector because it too is more male dominant. The goal of graduating from any Ph.D. program is to show your committee that you can carry out research independently. The differences between the different countries are the status of the Ph.D. candidates. Some countries employ candidates, whereas some countries see the candidates as students. The content of the Ph.D.

Om Podcasten

The Civil Engineering Podcast provides engineering career advice and success stories specifically for civil engineers. Civil engineers Anthony Fasano, PE and Christian Knutson, PE host the show and showcase civil engineering projects and professionals. Each show includes an overview of an interesting civil engineering project and an interview with a successful civil engineering professional.