Waters earns AEI Outstanding Educator Award

Calendar Icon Apr 04, 2016      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed  RSS Submit a Story

Clarence Waters, professor of architectural engineering and industry liaison.
Clarence Waters, professor of architectural engineering and industry liaison.
Seeing the recent rise to national prominence of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s architectural engineering program has been something Clarence Waters takes pride in.

It is not, however, something for which he takes credit.

But a cadre of colleagues and students think Waters’ role in The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction and in the architectural engineering community nationwide is worth honoring.

That, Waters said, is why he’s humbled and honored to have been chosen to receive the Architectural Engineering Institute’s 2016 Outstanding Architectural Engineering Educator Award. The award was presented during the AEI Forum March 31-April 1 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“I’m extremely honored because, I believe, this is the first time this award is being given,” said Waters, professor of architectural engineering and industry liaison. “The Architectural Engineering Institute and the architectural engineering community mean a lot to me. To be recognized by them and by the people who nominated me, it all means a lot.

“Other than my family, the relationships that I have with alumni, both at the University of Nebraska and at Kansas State University, and the industry partnerships are the most important relationships that I have.”

The former architectural engineering department head at Kansas State, Waters joined the UNL engineering faculty in 2000 when the architectural engineering program was introduced. He rose from associate professor to director of the AE program in 2005.

In 2010, he relinquished the director’s job and became a full professor with an emphasis on work as a liaison to link industry to UNL students in the program. That work, Waters said, is the most satisfying part of his job.

“I do a lot with connecting students with our industry. My role is creating opportunities for students and industry to benefit from each other,” Waters said. “This is, I think, the best place in the world for that type of thing because of the significance of the industry that is here.

“The architectural engineering community is small. I think there are only 18 to 20 accredited architectural engineering programs in the country, so demand for graduates is extremely high. These companies, they want to get to know the students because they want to hire them. So, it’s a mutually beneficial situation for the students who are looking for jobs and for the companies who are so willing to give very significant time.”

Waters also said that one of the most important aspects of his job is preparing students for success in the professional world.

“I’ve been real involved with the accreditation process with programs across the country. There are only 18 or 20 accredited AE programs in the country, so it’s a relatively small community and the demand for graduates is extremely high,” Waters said.

“It’s so critical that we teach the students engineering fundamentals so they have a strong background,” Waters said. “Then as the industry changes, they have that strong theoretical background and they can change with the industry as it changes. Seeing our students succeed as professionals is very gratifying.”

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