Education and workforce development remain one of the most critical aspects of our work as a university-based transportation institute. This past year we have been expanding our educational programs to attract new talent to transportation, to diversify the workforce and to educate the next generation of transportation professionals.
At the undergraduate level, with funding from STRIDE and CUTC (Project title: Exploring Career Paths in Transportation,) we developed and offered a 1-credit seminar to UF and external students from any major interested in discovering the versatile field of transportation. In this course, students learned about transportation career paths, job opportunities and how transportation makes a difference in our communities. Each week we invited one or more transportation professionals from various backgrounds and subdisciplines to share their path into transportation and discuss their work. Our surveys show that the course helped participating students understand the diversity of transportation careers and the possible paths open to them. The materials developed for the course are available here to any university interested in offering a similar course and over the next several months we will be reaching out to our colleagues across the U.S. to discuss possibilities for expanding the program.
At the graduate level, we collaborated with FDOT to develop and offer an online master’s degree program with a concentration on “Transportation Management.” This program is targeted at working professionals to help them enhance their skills and rise to management and leadership positions. The curriculum covers all aspects pertaining to professional practice of transportation including history, organizational structures, legal aspects, finances, human resources, asset management, leadership, marketing and communications, innovation and technical topics.
This degree is administered through Electronic Delivery of Graduate Education (or EDGE), the College of Engineering’s distance learning program. The 30-credit degree includes four core classes: Fundamentals of the Transportation Profession (the gateway class to this degree,) Engineering Leadership, Fundamentals of Engineering Project Management and Engineering Innovation as well as six other courses on various aspects of transportation engineering and urban planning available from the university’s extensive online course listings. The first cohort of students in the program started in Spring 2022. For additional information on this program please visit: transportation.institute.ufl.edu/education/transportation-engineering-graduate-program
Also at the graduate level, another exciting development is the planned UF campus at West Palm Beach (UF@WPB), which will offer new M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in Engineering, Law and Business. As part of this endeavor, we are developing a new degree in transportation engineering with an emphasis on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, internet of things (IOT), data analytics, sensors and cyber security. This program will produce transportation engineers outside the traditional path of civil engineering, well-versed in other engineering areas which have been revolutionizing transportation through the use of connectivity, autonomy and other advanced technologies. UF@ WPB will also offer targeted professional development courses on newer topics as well as traditional courses in traffic engineering, transportation planning and transportation safety.
The bottom line is, in transportation education, one size does not fit all; we must remain flexible and address the needs of all students and stakeholders including the private sector, the public sector and academia. This year we made another significant step toward expanding our educational programs to expand the transportation workforce and address industry and public sector needs.
Director of UF Transportation Institute