headshot of Daba Shabara Gedafa  

Daba Shabara Gedafa, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, associate professor and chair of the civil engineering department at the University of North Dakota, has been named a fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.

Gedafa’s service goals are to help the department, college, university, profession, and community move forward. He has served on 10 university committees, including senate executive committee, five college-wide committees, and all department-level committees. He has advised four student organizations and been selected as UND’s Outstanding Advisor.

Some of his major professional accomplishments are being the handling editor for Transportation Research Record: Journal of Transportation Research Board (TRB); a member of three National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) project panels, four TRB committees, and one ASCE committee; an ABET program evaluator; scientific committee member for seven international conferences and a session co-chair for one international conference; reviewer for 17 journals and seven international conferences in addition to TRB annual meetings; and an external reviewer for proposals, report, and a book.

Gedafa has served new Americans and the elementary and middle schools in his area. He has been past-president, president, president-elect, and vice president of ASCE’s North Dakota Section; served as advocacy captain for North Dakota and state lead five years in a row during ASCE Fly-In; and led the section members to meet with legislatives in 2020 after releasing the state’s ASCE infrastructure report card for the first time.

His teaching goals are to produce students who are problem solvers, critical and independent thinkers, team players, good communicators, practically oriented, ethical, and responsible. He achieves these goals by being a facilitator for student-centered learning, creating a conducive environment for the teaching and learning process, and making students more enthusiastic about the course. He has taught 11 undergraduate and two graduate courses at UND.

Gedafa was recognized for Excellence in Civil Engineering Education by Marquis Who’s Who in America, selected as UND’s Faculty Star by Presidential Scholar(s), and nominated for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards.

His research goals are to find solutions for the evolving problems in pavement and materials engineering. He has received 35 grants, donations worth $2,221,370, and currently advises eight master’s and three doctoral students. He is also a committee member for six current doctoral students, and led seven master’s and one doctoral student to completion. He was a committee member for 11 master’s and two doctoral students. He has published or is in the process of publishing more than 60 peer-reviewed articles.

His goal as a leader is to nurture individuals’ maximum potential by being respectful, inclusive, and creating a conducive environment for people to succeed while providing resources in a fair and equitable way. Since becoming the chair in July 2018, his department has seen a tremendous growth in student headcount, external research expenditure, and alumni giving.

Gedafa was selected as Dean’s Outstanding Faculty in recognition of his accomplishment in teaching, research, service, collegiality, dependability, and the ability to relate his work to the vision of the College of Engineering & Mines.