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Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

2023-2027 Strategic Plan


Our strategic planning North Star

The UW Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering students, faculty, staff and alumni are leading efforts to prepare for a rapidly changing world – from combating the climate crisis to designing solutions that support an equitable future.

We are at the forefront of interdisciplinary research, teaching and collaboration, embracing emergent tools and technologies to enhance the well-being of our communities as we create resilience and sustainability in the built and natural environments.

Our plan framework

A graph titled 'Resilient & sustainable society' showing the four pillars of CEE's strategic plan stacked one on top of the other: Grand Challenges & research; education; visibility & engagement; and culture & diversity, equity, and inclusion. The first and fourth pillars are connected with arrows to all of the other pillars, to show that Grand Challenges & research and also culture & diversity, equity and inclusion, are woven throughout and support the work of the other pillars.

At the center of this plan is UW CEE’s commitment to building a resilient and sustainable society. The plan’s four core pillars work toward:

  • Grand Challenges & research
  • Education
  • Visibility & engagement
  • Culture & diversity, equity, and inclusion

In addition to existing as core pillars, two essential areas of the plan are throughlines, woven throughout and supporting all the work of the plan:

Researcher standing in a rice field

Pillar 1 | Grand Challenges & research

Research and applied impact, including service and community engagement.

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Researcher conducting research in a lab

Pillar 2 | Education

Transformative education, training and mentorship across undergraduate, graduate, professional and online programs.

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Researcher setting off a drone

Pillar 3 | Visibility & engagement

Peer visibility, recruitment (faculty, staff and students), relationship-building and partnerships beyond the department, and marketing and communications.

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A student at a construction site

Pillar 4 | Culture & diversity, equity, and inclusion

Commitment to strengthen the CEE community, one that advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for all people within the department, our partners, and the broader world.

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Thank you

The UW Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) 2023-2027 strategic plan was collectively informed and built by students, staff, faculty, school leadership, partners, and other external stakeholders, over the period of a year. Our partner, Pyramid Communications, guided us through an approach called “strategic reframing” that:

  • Shifts the focus from process to a shared vision and the necessary steps to achieve it
  • Creates shared context within which to evaluate choices and make strategic decisions
  • Provides everyone responsible the same understanding of purpose, success and priorities

Thank you to the many team members and collaborators who contributed their time and wisdom to this plan’s development — faculty and staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, College of Engineering leadership, and more.

Strategic plan leadership

Core team: Bart Nijssen, Laura Lowes, Alexander Horner-Devine, Jeff Berman, Ted Hanson

Planning committee: Jeff Ban, Bryan Crockett, Mike Dodd, Jessica Kaminsky, Jessica Lundquist, Julian Marshall, Dan McCabe, Mike Motley, Steve Muench, Becca Neumann, Rachel Pearson, Joseph Wartman

Strategic plan contributors

  • UW CEE Graduate Student Advisory Board, Visiting Committee, JEDI Committee
  • UW CEE students and faculty
  • College of Engineering leadership
  • Community partners and stakeholders