Texas Tech University

Chair's Welcome

Venky Shankar

Venky Shankar, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor and Department Chair


Welcome and greetings!

As the new chair of civil, environmental and construction engineering (CECE), I am excited to be a part of a special group of faculty and staff, students and alums. As part of our shared vision with the Whitacre College of Engineering-Tech community, Tech CECE is on an ambitious trajectory - we want to be viewed as a pre-eminent comprehensive research and education community in the years to come. Pre-eminence involves being beyond-world-class in undergraduate teaching, doctoral research, engagement with our constituent base, faculty quality, and the infrastructure of our department's ecosystem. Beyond-world class implies being globally elite. As part of the Whitacre College global ecosystem, CECE infrastructure is becoming more and more involved - from people and information, to processes and policy that drive the fields of civil, environmental and construction engineering. Our credo is to aspire to be-beyond in all of these domains.

We are one of the few departments in the nation that offer a comprehensive education spanning civil, environmental and construction engineering. We do so at all levels - at the Bachelor's, Master's and the doctoral levels. We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Construction Engineering and Management.

As a comprehensive research department, we conduct research in an unusually large number of civil engineering areas - wind engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, water resources engineering, environmental engineering, construction engineering, construction management and construction science. To keep our edge in these areas, we are strategically growing.

At Tech CECE, the grand idea is to be good at a bit of the old, and a bit of the new. What is old becomes new some day and what is new becomes old soon. We want to be adaptive and teach our students to learn how to learn their entire careers. The field of civil engineering is at the crossroads of dramatic changes due to interdisciplinary research and teaching - civil engineering at its core involves the building, construction and maintenance of physical and natural environments. This interplay is influenced in a rapid manner by today's technology and societal demands for what is vital for civilization to sustain and progress - information, processes and policy. However, this interplay is also taking us CECEs down the path of working closely with other fields in engineering, the pure and medical sciences and in the near future, the arts and the humanities, not just on campus but across the globe. At CECE, our faculty is collaborating across disciplines to be front and center in this interplay - from environmental and community impacts of shale oil and gas in Texas, to designing novel material systems for next generation pavements, to big data applications in traffic safety, to improving processes for post-disaster recovery, to building structures to withstand the ravaging power of tornados, to new methods for water desalination, and to using pile foundations as potential energy storage devices. The desire to be globally elite (the Whitacre College motto) via high-impact research and high-impact teaching drives all of us in this journey at Tech CECE .

Our faculty are known for their impact in the field. The department is home to two National Academy of Engineering (NAE) faculty members, the elite of the elite in the engineering field in the entire nation. Our faculty are among the world's foremost experts in areas ranging from methods for managing contaminated sediments to wind load designs for structures to engineering design of architectural glazing systems. Our faculty have published high-impact research in the established journals in our field. Citation impact is the currency of the creme-de-la-creme in academe. Several of the journal papers published by our faculty are in the top-25 publications for their year of publication in the top journals in the field. When one thinks of 500-to-1,000-plus papers being published every year in the leading journals in the field, this is something to be proud of. Our teaching quality is second to none on campus - several members of our department have been inducted into the Tech Teaching Academy. This means they are front and center as a resource for what it means to be a top-of-the-line teacher in the entire Whitacre community.

The CECE department is part of an inclusive community of scholars in the Whitacre College of Engineering that places high value on diversity as an enabler of inspirational, high-quality experiential education, synergies between undergraduate and graduate research, and transformative multidisciplinary collaborations. Come join us for the journey to be-beyond at Tech CECE. If you wish to check us out in person, drop me an email at venky.shankar@ttu.edu, or just drop by our department if you are in town. Will be happy to show you around!

Venky Shankar, PhD, PE
Professor and Chair

Department of Civil, Environmental, & Construction Engineering