Corotis Earns OPAL Award in Education

Ross B. Corotis, Ph.D., P.E., S.E., F.EMI, Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, the Denver Business Challenge professor of engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder and one of the nation’s most eminent “big picture” engineers, has been honored by ASCE as the Outstanding Projects And Leaders award-winner in education.
The ASCE OPAL awards honor outstanding civil engineering leaders for their lifetime accomplishments.

This year’s OPAL winners will be recognized at the 2019 OPAL Gala, March 14, in Arlington, VA.

headshot of Corotis

Corotis, after teaching stints at MIT and Northwestern University and founding the high-ranking Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, became dean of CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science in 1994. There he oversaw design and major fundraising for the Integrated Teaching & Learning paradigm laboratory, a model for undergraduate education that won NAE’s Bernard M. Gordon prize for new modalities and experiments in education that develop effective engineering leaders. He also created the concept and raised the funding for the Discovery Learning Center, dedicated to providing undergraduate students with the opportunity to work alongside graduate students and faculty on actual research projects.

His vision and innovative concepts spawned other programs and interdisciplinary centers on the campus. Even as dean, he taught a large undergraduate class almost every year, and when he returned to full-time teaching in 2001 he both continued this practice and also created a completely new graduate course in Lifecycle Analysis of Infrastructure, one of his research areas.

The commitment to education, the sharing of discoveries with students, and what is now known as mentoring – these are all concomitant with a change Corotis has brought to the profession itself. He was a main driver of the development of rational reliability-based approaches to design, and from there to our whole spectrum of infrastructure systems. Besides the United States, he is well-known in Europe and Asia, especially through his editorship of the magazine Structural Safety. His own lectures and coauthored papers are too numerous to judiciously mention, as are his consulting clients.

Corotis was recently a project director for the Colorado Department of Transportation, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. He has chaired or been a committee member for ACI, ASEE, International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety, and Civil Engineering Risk and Reliability Association, among many others. In ASCE’s Engineering Mechanics Division alone, he has been control member, vice chair and chair of the Committee on Probabilistic Methods in Civil Engineering, and from 2004 to 2010 the editor of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics.

He also did significant work on the load criteria that became part of ASCE/SEI-7. He was awarded the Walter L. Huber Prize in 1984 and was Outstanding Engineering Educator of ASCE’s Maryland Section in 1986. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002. Corotis was also a Jefferson Science Fellow (U.S. Department of State, 2008-2013) and has over 15 academic awards.

His educational service is extensive, including a review in 2016 of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. In 1979, he was a member of a four-person National U.S.-U.S.S.R. Engineer Exchange Delegation. He has been adviser for 26 doctoral and 31 master’s students.

Corotis has three degrees from MIT and is a registered professional engineer in Illinois, Maryland, and Colorado, as well as a registered structural engineer in Colorado.

Learn more about the 2019 OPAL Gala.


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