Civil engineering professor’s dedication to education earns him high honors

Grant Schultz, an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is this year’s recipient one of the most prestigious awards given by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

The Wilbur S. Smith Distinguished Transportation Educator Award has been recognizing outstanding contributions in the field of transportation education since 1993. The award recognizes exceptional influences made by a transportation professional in relation to academic studies.

Schultz has exemplified the Wilbur S. Smith Award by dedicating himself to the education of BYU students, both in and outside of the classroom. His primary objective in the classroom has been to prepare students for graduation by bringing real-world situations and problems to his students. Not only is this a priority for Schultz, but it is also one of the ITE’s main educational focuses.

“They focus on bringing real world transportation into the classroom,” said Schultz. “They like to see that what you’re teaching and what you’re doing is applied to the actual transportation industry.”

Not only have his efforts inside the classroom been recognized, but also his work with the student chapter of the ITE has contributed to him receiving this award. Schultz has been instrumental in helping students attend and participate in the ITE International Collegiate Traffic Bowl, competing against nearly 200 schools worldwide. Thanks to his dedicated efforts with the students, BYU took home first place in the 2011 traffic bowl competition, and have continued to compete and attend annually, giving students a valuable learning experience.

What makes this award so prestigious, among transportation professionals, is that the award recipient is not selected solely by members of the ITE. Top organizations within the transportation community mutually decide who should receive this honor, organizations ranging from the Transportation Research Board, Federal Highway Administration and the American Society of State Highway Transportation Officials.

While this respected award has great personal significance for Schultz, he continues to gain the most satisfaction from his career as an educator.

“Really in the end, it’s all about the students,” said Schultz. “For me the most rewarding thing about working with the students is to attend industry meetings and see my former students there, and see that they’re still active in the profession.”

The Wilbur S. Smith award was presented to Dr. Schultz on Aug. 13. Additional information regarding the award of the Institute of Transportation Engineers can be found on their website.

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