Dr. Verdrana Krstic has been named the 2020 winner of the Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Society’s James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award for the Metropolitan District. Chi Epsilon is the only national civil engineering society and members are selected from the upper third of junior and senior civil engineering classes based on their ability to demonstrate scholarship, character, practicality and sociability. The James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award was “established to recognize faculty members who are dedicated to teaching in the civil engineering profession or closely associated engineering fields, and provide support to the various student chapters in their department.”
Students from each chapter nominate a faculty member and the District selection committee determines the district-level recipient. Dr. Glenn Goss, Executive Director of Chi Epsilon, highlights that “The process for making this type of nomination is one of the first opportunities for students to transition away from the typical student-faculty dynamic and toward a relationship that increases the spirit of cooperation and mutual interest between students and faculty” – a tenet recited during members’ initiation.
Krstic says “Just being nominated by the students is already an award in itself. Being recognized by peers and actually getting the award was the cherry on top. There is absolutely nothing else I would rather do than teach. I could leave academia today and go back to industry but there isn’t a project I could work on that compares to the satisfaction of seeing one of my students become a successful engineer.”
Dr. Krstic was initially inducted into the honor society during her graduate tenure at Rutgers University. She is the founding faculty advisor of the TCNJ chapter of Chi Epsilon and continues in this role to date. For the past few years, Dr. Krstic has collaborated with fellow TCNJ civil engineering professor Dr. Andrew Bechtel on research tied to the application of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) materials in fender structures and has begun a project with Hardesty & Hanover, an infrastructure engineering firm, on the topic of drilled shaft quality control.