Teaching Philosophy: Jim’s goals in teaching are to challenge students to apply the principles of engineering to real-world problems in an interdisciplinary context, and ultimately help them discover their passions. In the spirit of the teacher-scholar model, teaching at Merrimack is an extremely high priority, and Jim has the opportunity to mentor students from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds. He promotes a challenging, engaging, and comprehensive approach to undergraduate education in which he not only serves as a course instructor, but also as a laboratory instructor and grader at all levels. Jim's pedagogical strategies are to encourage higher-order thinking, establish context through real-world examples, promote student-student and student-faculty interactions, and make learning enjoyable and fun.
The following sections provide the descriptions and syllabi of courses Jim has taught in the Department of Civil Engineering at Merrimack College:
Description: An introduction to the fundamental principles of geotechnical engineering. Topics include soil classification, compaction, seepage, consolidation, and shear strength. Intensive laboratory exercises familiarize students with standard
laboratory test methods for soil property determination and to reinforce
data collection, data analysis, and report writing skills. Junior-level course.
Semesters taught: Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016 (Syllabus)
Description: An introduction to the geotechnical design aspects of foundations. Site investigation techniques and characterization of subsurface conditions. Analysis and design of shallow and deep foundations subjected to vertical and lateral loading, with an emphasis on bearing capacity and settlement. Evaluation and selection of foundation types and alternatives. Case studies and design problems. Senior- and graduate-level course.
Description: An examination of the geotechnical design aspects of earth slopes and retaining structures. Lateral earth pressure theories and slope stability analyses related to excavations and retaining structures. Analysis and design of retaining walls, sheet-pile walls, and braced and unbraced excavations. Case studies and design problems. Senior- and graduate-level course.
Description: The concept of stress and strain at a point. Stress-temperature relationships. Force and deformation analyses of bodies under axial, shearing, flexural, torsional and combined loadings. Euler Columns. Sophomore-level course.
Description: An introduction to the field of earthquake engineering. Topics in this course include: plate tectonics and seismology; rupture mechanisms; measures of magnitude and intensity; probabilistic seismic hazard analysis; strong earthquake ground motion; site effects on ground motion; soil-structure interaction; dynamic analysis of structures; response spectra; modal analysis; nonlinear time-history analysis; earthquake resistant design; and seismic detailing. Graduate-level course.
Description: An introduction to applied statistical and probability methods in engineering dealing with discrete and continuous variables, joint distributions, estimation, tests of hypotheses, regression, design of experiments and control charts. Statistical computer packages will be used in connection with some of the material studied. Undergraduate-level course.
introduction to the profession of engineering, along with communication
skills needed in students' college and professional careers. Computer
skills, report generation, public speaking, leadership and teamwork
skills, and computer-aided drawing are covered. Design is emphasized
throughout. Freshman-level course.