Fall Semester ESF Courses

Office Hours: M,T,W,F 1:00-1:45pm Please EMAIL to schedule visit

River Form and Process

River Classification
  • Course ID:
    ERE 412 / ERE 612 (prereqs: Engineering or Watershed Hydrology)
  • Meeting Location & Time:
    M 1:55 - 4:55,W & F 11:40 - 12:35
  • Teaching Assistant:
    Peter Kwon
  • Online Syllabus & Resources:
    Blackboard | Photos from Previous Years
  • General Description:
    This course deals with river forms and processes using engineering analysis and design methods to address non-regime channels. River and watershed maps and remotely sensed data are processed and analyzed using geographic information system methods. Fields surveys measure river cross-sections, longitudinal profiles, planform geometry, and substrate and data are used to apply Rosgen and Montgomery river classification schemes. River substrate and sediment samples are used to characterize hydraulic roughness, bed sediment size distributions, transport thresholds and capacity, erosion processes, and consider channel evolution trajectories. Methods and equations are introduced to estimate groundwater connectivity, river discharge, and solute and sediment transport. Probability and regression functions are used to analyze hydraulic geometry, flow frequencies, and bankfull or effective discharge. River restoration practices are studied and critiqued. Student projects synthesize course material to monitor, assess, or design a river restoration project. Readings in fluvial geomorphology supplement engineering analysis. ERE 612 students will have additional readings and assignments, resulting in a 15 page paper.
  • NRCS River Restoration Case Studies: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18

Engineering Lectures

  • Undergraduate Orientation Seminar:
    ERE 132
  • Graduate Seminars:
    ERE 797 series
  • General Description:
    These courses are taught by our entire faculty, sometimes by students as well, to discuss the wide variety of topics in environmental resources engineering. With the undergraduate course, we have ventured out to nearby watersheds and conducted qualitative and quantitative field data, examining how we would parameterize fundamental equations describing key phenomena. Topics that have captured student interest include exploring GIS, building and testing bridges, flying airplanes for distance and height competition, and getting their next semester courses selected. With the graduate course, we model conference proceedings through brief talks followed by questioning, as well as prepare the students for presenting their work. Topics that have intrigued the students include the faculty presentations on their favorite research questions, as well as the first public presentation by their fellow graduates. These courses are updated each year to reflect the exciting developments in the field of research and ideas in teaching.

Spring Semester

Office Hours: M,F 12:40-1:40pm Email my secretary to schedule this or another office visit.

Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics

Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics
  • Course ID:
    ERE 340 / ERE 540
  • Meeting Location & Time:
  • Section 01-02 Baker Labs 148, M,W,F 11:40-12:35 PM
  • Teaching Assistants:
    Yuguang Li and Harini Kadamba
  • Online Resources:
    Syllabus | Blackboard
  • General Description:
    Engineering Hydrology & Hydraulics is an introduction to the broad topic of water resources engineering; topics include the delineation of watersheds for hydrologic cycle analysis, the application of hydraulics to estimate pipe and channel dynamics, the estimation of runoff frequency to predict floods, the conceptualization groundwater flows to understand drawdown, and the analysis of ecologic function to guide restoration. Water resource systems will be studied to identify and isolate the fundamental hydraulic and hydrologic processes controlling the system, often reduced to the equations for conservation of mass, momentum, or energy. The hydrologic processes explored by the course will include scaling rainfall across time and space, computing the timing and magnitude of watershed runoff, and routing flood waves through detention basins and streams. The hydraulics explored in this course will include pipe flow, open-channel flow, flows within control structures (e.g. weirs and flumes), and flow through porous media. A variety of probability distributions will also be explored to better assess the engineering challenges in designing a structure to withstand an uncertain future. Additional emphasis will be placed on student participation in a design and research projects. Design projects are coupled to weekly laboratory exercises that pursue in greater detail several key lecture topics. The research project has taken the form of service-based learning and of pure research, depending on the student's inclination. Results are presented at the ESF Spotlight on Research & Outreach. Students will additionally learn of sources for hydrologic and hydraulic data, engineering analysis tools, and important restoration applications for technical information. Graduate students will conduct additional research and writing work to satisfy this course.

Humanitarian Engineering for Development Workers (replacing Appropriate Technologies for Developing Countries)

Water Source Estimation
  • Course ID:
    ERE 496 / ERE 596
  • Meeting Location & Time:
    See Registrar's Website
  • Online Illustrative Syllabus & Resources:
    Blackboard | Engineers without Borders
  • General Description:
    The course focuses on the why and how of delivering basic services to rural populations, where services include potable water, waste removal and sanitation, smoke venting and efficient cook stoves, and electricity to provide light for reading. Engineering infrastructure used to deliver these services in developed countries is often found as inappropriate in the rural sectors of developing countries due to the associated design, build, and maintenance costs that prohibit local acquisition and control. Appropriate technologies are designed and built for local cultural, economic, and environmental conditions and can be maintained locally. The class will use international development reports to define the geographical scope and population numbers associated with communities without potable water, sanitation, cooking, and other basic services. Readings will provide information on the common problems encountered in rural development and dissemination of engineering designs. Case studies will be used to explore where rural development failed due to use of inappropriate technologies and where it succeeded due to use of appropriate technologies. The class will study appropriate technologies used to deliver these basic services to rural communities. The students will study the engineering designs for appropriate technologies such as water distribution, water treatment, sanitation, cook stoves, and energy capture for electricity. We will discuss what technologies would be appropriate for use by the SUNY ESF Engineers without Borders chapter in their rural community projects.

Hydro Meteorology:

Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics
  • Course ID:
    ERE 444 / 644
  • Meeting Location & Time:
    Online auto-tutorial
  • Online Resources:
    Blackboard
  • General Description:
    The Hydro Meteorology course will cover the 1) physical equations of evaporation, atmospheric stability, condensation, winds, and precipitation, 2) introduce weather station instrumentation, sensor and data-logger programming, and data management, and 3) utilize hydro meteorology products such as synopsis, numerical weather prediction forecasts, quantitative precipitation forecasts, and radar precipitation data.
  • Weather data for analysis: NCDC GIS | NCEP MAG | WeatherUnderground

Seminar: Hydrology and Biogeochemistry:

  • Course ID:
    ERE 797
  • Meeting Location & Time:
    Moon Library Conference Room, 4:00-5:00PM Tuesday
  • Online Resources:
    Blackboard
  • General Description:
    This course is inter-disciplinary and brings together our environmental biology, forestry, chemistry, and engineering units, as well as collaborative partners from Syracuse University. We mix presentations on recent research findings with food and drinks, and have enjoyed a favorable response by students and faculty. Topics that capture student interest include photo essays of nearby research sites, introducing graduates to advisors, field methods and equipment available for their work, and trading lessons learned with other grads.

Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

Ecological Engineering in the Tropics
  • Course ID:
    ERE 311 / ERE 511
  • Meeting Location & Time:
    Field site Costa Rica (focus Rancho Mastatal), Offered Spring Break March 2015
  • Adjunct Instructor:
    Tim O'Hara, Rancho Mastatal
  • Online Last Year Syllabus & Resources:
    Blackboard | 2013 Costa Rica Trip Article | 2007 Photo Sample | 2008 Photo Sample | 2009 Photo Sample
  • General Description:
    Ecological Engineering in the Tropics is designed for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a science or engineering major at SUNY ESF, and may serve to satisfy field and design experience requirements in EFB and ERE. Ecological engineering theory and design are introduced and reinforced through system-based designs that sustainably provide resources, assimilate waste, or restore ecosystems. Readings and field exercise cover how systems can be manipulated to function sustainably and address social, environmental, and economic goals and constraints. A central theme for the course is assessing the sustainability of the water-food-energy-hygiene connections that are fundamentally important to communities at all income and educational levels. Students will engage in field based lessons that explore agro-techno-ecological systems and will discuss their ideas for ecologically engineered solutions to rebalance the water-food-energy-hygiene crisis. Rebalancing this crisis, even at the household or village scale, provides significant progress on international research. Students completing this course will master skills applicable for successfully participating in both national and international engineering and science projects. Graduate students will demonstrate higher mastery by synthesizing additional journal readings and data collection in a 15-page paper that critiques the theory and practice of ecological engineering design in the tropics. This course was awarded support in 2004 from SUNY International Programs for: a) increasing hands on learning for undergraduates, as recommended by the National Research Council, b) increasing interdisciplinary activity between engineering and other environmental sciences, and c) extending the above learning to cultures experiencing rapid population growth and associated economic and natural resource pressures.

Teaching News and Celebrations

Dr. Lewis McCaffrey is offering Humanitarian Engineering for Development Workers, a wonderful course for all students. This course involves students discovering the geography of poverty and how basic needs can be met for many low income and low-middle income countries. I am recruiting students to enroll in our spring break course, Ecological Engineering in the Tropics - we will visit Rancho Mastatal in Costa Rica. In the past we built a hydraulic ram pump, a solar powered UV water purifier, and a point of use slow sand filter.

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is fundamentally about facilitating student learning through interactive lessons, often based in experiential or service learning, that utilize standard and innovative tools. I provide lectures that introduce topics, connect themes, and field questions, as well as facilitate classroom discussions that reinforce application and untangle misconceptions. Directed readings are intended to provide depth in content, while assessment of student projects and opportunity sets provide iterative feedback for mastery. I view teaching as an integral part of my job at the College, and the College supports my scholarship in the classroom. My teaching, of course, must reach and change the learner, and in my effort to do this, I expect that the student take responsibility to actively manage their learning. I am dedicated to always learning more about facilitating great teaching from teaching workshops, teaching consultants, exemplary teachers, student comments, and reflection on my own performance. Given the breadth of opinions on teaching, I am sure that I have plenty of ground to cover in my quest to explore the frontiers of instruction. If you would like to contribute, please act.

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