1. K-State home
  2. »Engineering
  3. »Civil Engineering
  4. »People
  5. »Faculty
  6. »David Steward
  7. »Professional Experience

Civil Engineering

Academic Leadership Overview

My career goals focus on establishing large multifaceted teams to successfully address engineering grand challenges. Examples include leading two Targeted Excellence initiatives funded through the Provost Office, one to establish an interdisciplinary water resources program, and the other to bridge hydrological and ecological groups. I’ve engaged and coordinated such collaborations of faculty members, staff and students to develop large funded grants, to conduct research and education, to meet with collaborators and stakeholders, and to disseminate findings. These endeavors entailed hiring and supervising administrative assistants to coordinate the activities of interdisciplinary endeavors, and managing complicated budgets across departmental, college and university units. I’ve chaired several successful faculty and staff search committees, and currently chair both the Mathematics-Engineering Liaison Committee, which provides a college-level forum contributing to open dialogue, conflict resolution and ABET review preparation, and the Equipment Needs Committee, which prioritizes and approves funds to enhance laboratories and computer infrastructure. 

Interdisciplinary endeavors include leading the Consortium for Global Research on Water Based Economies since 2001. Through sustained weekly interactions, we’ve collectively learned to overcome the challenges of differences in perspectives, nomenclature and methods to achieve broader approaches for addressing societal needs. An example is being PI on the $1.5M NSF grant from the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems in the crosscutting Biocomplexity in the Environment priority area. This PI/senior personnel team consisted of faculty members in: agricultural economics, agronomy, civil engineering, computer and information sciences, landscape architecture, political science, and sociology. A synergistic outcome was our 2013 paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where we quantified the role of groundwater depletion on agricultural production.

Advancements in engineering and interdisciplinary education include classroom-level through university-level curriculum development. A few leadership highlights in preparing students to function in collaborative teams include advancing a new interdisciplinary PhD-level course through the graduate school – GRAD 740: Water and Society – which has been team taught by faculty members from six departments. As co-PI of an NSF Combined Research and Curriculum Development grant, we established a Geoenvironmental Engineering Certificate Program, and, as its current Graduate Program Director, we are revising and advancing this program within emerging K-State endeavors in environmental engineering. Initiatives towards broadening participation of a diverse study body include: coordinating student exchanges with faculty members of Seward County Community College, a Hispanic-serving institution in Southwest Kansas, and serving as faculty mentor in the Developing Scholars Program for first generation undergraduate college students. I served on the International Service Learning Task Force through the Provost Office towards developing international student experiences. The K-State Hydraulics Laboratory was designed and built through experiential learning activities in my undergraduate courses, and, we’ve hosted elementary and middle school students, and scouting organizations in these facilities to showcase the importance of engineering and STEM education.

Outreach and engagement occurred through hundreds of interactions with stakeholders, communities, school groups, agencies and organizations. I was inducted as a Fellow by the American Society of Engineers in 2017, and serve as the ASCE Kansas section President to provide a liaison between K-State activities and the engineering community.  As university representative to the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences Inc. (CUAHSI), I will participate as theme leader with the USGS at the CUAHSI’s 2018 Summer Institute of the National Water Center.

Professional Experience

Kansas State University, Civil Engineering:

Professor (2010-present), Associate Professor (2004-2010), Assistant Professor (1998-2004)

University of Maine, Marine Sciences:

Post-Doctoral Research Associate (1997-1998)

University of Minnesota, Civil Engineering:

Post-Doctoral Research Associate (1997), Teaching Assistant (1991-1996), Research Assistant (1989-1994)

David R. Steward Consulting:

GeoScience Groundwater Consultant (1991-present).

UNISYS/Sperry Corporation, Executive Software Development:

System Programmer (1983-1989)

Professional Registration

Professional Engineer, License Number 54874, Minnesota.

Professional Geoscientist, License Number 3957, Texas

Water Videos

"Researchers find vast U.S. aquifer being tapped out"

"Life Expectancy of The Ogallala"

"K-State Students Replicate Hurricane Sandy's Damage"

"Kansas State University: Research: Where will we teach the scientists who will engineer our future?"

"Hydraulic Engineering Class Builds Oil-Capping Model"

"Engineering class simulate sewer geyser"