Expert hydrologist joins UNC Charlotte to steer solutions for built and natural environments

Categories: General News

William States Lee College of Engineering welcomes Glenn Moglen, seasoned researcher and respected leader, as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He began his role at UNC Charlotte fall semester 2023.

Moglen brings a strong higher education background, having held faculty appointments at both Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers named him an ASCE Fellow, and in 2016 he became a Fellow of their Environmental and Water Resources Institute, denoting peer recognition as a leader in environmental engineering. Additionally, Moglen has gained extensive professional experience by serving in federal organizations. “As a civil servant with the National Weather Service, the US Geological Survey, and finally at the USDA, I had the opportunity to participate in the research programs of three highly contrasting agencies with differing missions and challenges,” said Moglen.

Now at UNC Charlotte, Moglen will lead the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering research activities and academics, including the new bachelor of science in environmental engineering. “Offering a separate B.S. in environmental engineering is unusual and demonstrates a commitment to a program focused on the specific engineering challenges we face in this area, including climate change, water quality, overabundance, and scarcity, emerging contaminants and more,” said Moglen. “The demand for creative and well-trained engineers is assured and industry partners are expressing tremendous excitement around this new degree.”

As a researcher, Moglen will provide the department his perspective in hydrology, or the study of water resources, which is integral to civil and environmental engineering. In particular, he emphasizes the importance of recognizing climate change as a key element to this field. “The reality is that climate change and urbanization both act to amplify the extremes of natural processes,” said Moglen. “From a water quantity perspective, for example, floods are bigger and droughts are more severe. The best research anticipates these amplifications, lowering uncertainty. If we can anticipate, then we can design and plan effectively.” 

“Civil and environmental engineers serve the greater good of our society. Just open the newspaper to see all our challenges: climate change, aging infrastructure, population growth, traffic, pollution. These are complex problems. My vision is that our graduates are the ones leading the agencies that are tasked to solve these problems. Niner Engineers will provide safe water, robust infrastructure, and forward-looking solutions that are sustainable and sensitive to the physical and social environment.”

Glenn Moglen, Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Moglen holds a strong passion for managing our natural resources, and explains that this passion stems back to his childhood when he played in a creek near his house. “I loved to see its variations in flow. I especially remember how summer thunderstorms could transform the creek from a quiet, lazy stream to a raging, muddy torrent. As soon as a storm would pass I’d rush down to the creek just to see what it looked like. The drama of this was endlessly fascinating.” Later, as an engineering undergrad, Moglen learned the tools and techniques to study and design for those same resources. “Engineering gave me a language and a vocabulary that described my childhood observations. In a way, choosing this career has allowed me to figuratively continue to run down to the creek and see what it’s doing.”