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Spainhour interim department chair civil and environmental engineering

ASME Students with robots
Left-right, Michelle Rambo-Roddenberry, Interim Associate Chair & Associate Professor and Lisa Spainhour, Interim Department Chair & Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has a new hand on the department’s administrative wheel. And the first female department chair in the history of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Lisa Spainhour, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, accepted the interim chair position when Kamal Tawfiq returned to teaching and research after holding the position for three terms. Spainhour came to the College in 1993 as Assistant Professor, earning promotion to Professor in 2010.

Department Chair is a most particularly fitting role for Spainhour, who has the nickname “Mom” among her students for her kindness, lightheartedness, and sense of humor.

Garit Poire, a graduate student in civil engineering, is one of those students who appreciate Spainhour’s teaching approach. “Dr. Spainhour embodies the true meaning of what academia should encompass,” said Poire. “She encourages her students to learn, work hard, and develop skills to not only benefit them educationally, but also professionally. Her nickname ‘Mom’ is one of respect, because the students in our department don’t view her as any other professor, but as part of our academic support structure. Our department functions more like a family, we look out and encourage one another and these family values shared among us come from professors like ‘Mom’.”

Spainhour has been instrumental in maintaining the department’s EAC/ABET accreditation status. She has been faculty advisor many times over the years to the FAMU-FSU Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Since 2008, she has led the TraCS Florida program that distributes TraCS software, at no charge, to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Spainhour was recognized during Engineers Week in 2011 with the Engineers in Education Award, and then in 2013 for 'Excellence in Online Course Design' for her online graduate-level course Composites in Civil Engineering.

“Dr. Spainhour is perfect for this role. She has served the department well for many years on curriculum, student, and accreditation matters,” says Michelle Rambo-Roddenberry, Associate Professor in the department. “She puts a lot of thought into decisions and is sensitive to the needs of others. Her positive attitude and trustworthiness are a great asset to the department, and we are fortunate to have her as our interim chair.”

John Sobanjo, a Professor in the department and also the Director of the Center for Accessibility and Safety for an Aging Population (ASAP), said “Dr. Spainhour has been very active as an Affiliate Faculty and Researcher at ASAP, a federal-funded University Transportation Center (UTC). She has performed research and contributed as the Outreach Program Leader at the center. Dr. Spainhour has led for the fourth consecutive year, the planning and hosting of the ASAP Center’s Annual Transportation Day at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, with the fourth one scheduled for Friday, December 8, 2017.”