Civil Engineering, known as Course 1 at MIT, has changed its name to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation approved the name-change proposal in the spring and MIT's 1992-93 course catalog is the first to carry the new name.
"The name change is a reaffirmation of the directions taken by the department over the last 20 years," said Professor Rafael Bras, head of the department. "Civil engineers in their traditional role as people-servers and developers of the infrastructure of progress also have the responsibility for the environment they mold," he said.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering deals with the fate and transport of pollutants, the remediation and containment of environmental damage, the development of environmentally sensitive structures, the impact of transportation on environmental quality and the response of the construction industry to environmental regulation. The department also pursues the opportunities, technologically and otherwise, that environmental concerns present to the civil engineering profession and the construction industry in particular.
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers two different bachelors degrees: Civil Engineering, and Environmental Engineering Science. Presently more than 140 undergraduates and 290 graduate students are enrolled in the department under the supervision of 40 faculty members. More than $8 million of research complements and supports the educational endeavor.
The department and its faculty provide leadership and expertise to many Institute interdisciplinary initiatives. Some of these are the Center for Transportation Studies, the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, the Center for Global Change Science, the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development, the Technology and Policy Program, MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program and the Program in Environmental Engineering, Research and Education. The latter, a School of Engineering initiative, is directed by Professor David H. Marks, former head of the department. The current head, Dr. Bras, the William E. Leonhard Professor of Engineering, assumed department leadership in July.
A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 10).