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Dr. Vinod Lohani

  • Program Director, Division of Graduate Education, National Science Foundation
Vinod Lohani
410-E Kelly Hall
325 Stanger St
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech
Diploma, Colorado State University
M.S. Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand
B.S. Agricultural Engineering; G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India

Research Interests

  • Computer Supported Research and Learning Systems
  • Personalized Learning Systems
  • Virtual Reality in Engineering Education
  • Spiral Theory-based Engineering Curricula
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates and Teachers
  • Hydrology and Water Resources
  • International Collaboration 

I have had graduate students in both Engineering Education and Civil & Environmental Engineering programs here at Virginia Tech. In fact, I have also co-advised a PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. One key theme of my engineering education research is to use the engineering knowledge to build systems for enhancing student learning. My Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS), an outcome of PhD research in EngE, is a good example which has now been used in more than 26 undergraduate and graduate courses within and outside VT. Currently, I’m leading the experiential learning portfolio at VT’s premier interdisciplinary research institute called the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS). Finally, I direct ICTAS’ Doctoral Scholar program, which has 30+ PhD students representing 6 colleges (Engineering, Science, Business, Natural Resources and Environment, Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine). 


Dr. Vinod K. Lohani is a Professor of Engineering Education and an adjunct faculty in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech (VT). He received his undergraduate engineering degree in India, M.S. at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand and Ph.D. in civil engineering from VT. He worked for a national research institute in India before joining VT. Dr. Lohani's research interests are in the areas of computer-supported research and learning systems, engineering education, hydrology, and international collaboration. He has led several NSF-supported interdisciplinary research and curriculum reform projects at VT. He has collaborated with various engineering and education faculty for implementing Jerome Bruner's spiral theory for reforming engineering curricula. He has been directing/co-directing an NSF/Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site on interdisciplinary water sciences and engineering at VT since 2007. This site has 76 alumni from all over the United States to date and 10 REU scholars have been selected for summer 2016 REU Site. He collaborated with his colleagues to implement a study abroad project (2007-12), funded under the US-Brazil Higher Education Program of the U.S. Department of Education, at VT. He has published over 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. He is founding director of an interdisciplinary lab called Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) at VT. This lab is a unique real-time high frequency water and weather monitoring research and education lab on VT campus and has an associated cyberlearning system called the Online Watershed Learning System (OWLS). The OWLS has been incorporated into several courses within and outside VT. In 2011, he was awarded the American Society for Engineering Education International Division's Global Engineering & Engineering Technology Educator Award. He has won several awards at VT including the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award in 2013. Virginia Tech nominated him for the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award of the State of Virginia. In January 2016, he joined Virginia Tech's premier research institute called the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) as its inaugural faculty director for education and global initiatives. In this position, he serves on the leadership team of the ICTAS and is taking lead in implementing various educational initiatives at ICTAS and advancing global presence of the ICTAS. Particularly, he is working with VT's leadership to develop ICTAS Innovation Centers in India and Chile.

Awards & Honors

  • Best Poster Award, Computers in Education Division, ASEE, Seattle, 2015

  • Nominated for Virginia Tech's Diggs Scholar Award, 2015

  • Nominated by Virginia Tech for 2015 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award of State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), 2015

  • Virginia Tech: Most Favorite Faculty Award, 2014 (chosen by students)

  • Virginia Tech: Teacher of the Week Award, 2014

  • Certificate of Achievement - 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award Finalist -State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) (teaching with technology category)

  • Virginia Tech - Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, 2013 (first and only engineering faculty to date)

  • Virginia Tech - XCaliber Certificate for Excellence, 2013

  • Nominated for Virginia Tech's Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education, 2012

  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) International Division's Global Engineering & Engineering Technology Educator Award, 2011

  • Dean's Teaching Excellence Award, College of Engineering, 2011

  • May/June Educator of the Month, DyKnow Company, Summer 2011

  • W. S. "Pete" White Innovation in Engineering Education Award, College of Engineering, 2010

  • William Elgin Wickenden Award for Best Paper in Journal of Engineering Education from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), 2010 (co-author)

  • Faculty Fellow Award, College of Engineering, 2008

  • Best Paper Award, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, 2007 Annual Conference of ASEE (co-author)

  • Best Poster Award - 2006 Association of Institutional Research (AIR) Forum (co-author)

  • VT International Faculty Development Program Participant - 2005 Cohort

  • Dean's List of Instructors (Fall '94; Fall '95; Spring '97; Spring '98; Fall '98; Spring '00; Spring '01; Summer '03; Fall '04 and Academic years: 1996-97, 1997-98, and 2000-01)

  • Faculty Advisor of Third Place Award Winning Team in ASEE Freshman Design Competition, Award given at 2004 annual conference of ASEE, June, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • 1996 Best Graduate Paper Award from the American Water Resources Association (AWRA)

  • Freedom From Hunger Ph.D. scholarship (1991-1994) of Rotary International

  • Vice Chancellor's Silver Medal for 2nd best graduating student in undergraduate class

  • Govt. of U.K. Commonwealth Fellowship for PhD. Program, 1991 (did not pursue)

  • United Nations Development Program Fellow, Colorado State University, Feb. - July, 1984

Selected Publications

  • Brogan, D.S., McDonald, W.M, Lohani, V.K., Dymond, R.L., and Bradner, A.J., Development and Classroom Implementation of an Environmental Data Creation and Sharing Tool, Advances in Engineering Education (AEE), to be published in 2016.

  • McDonald, W.M., Brogan, D.S., Lohani, V.K., Dymond, R.L., and Clark, R.L., 2015. "Integrating a Real-Time Environmental Monitoring Lab into University and Community College Courses," International Journal of Engineering Education, 31(4), pp. 1139-1157.

  • McDonald, W. M., Lohani, V.K., Dymond, R. L. and Brogan, D.S., 2015. "A Continuous, High-Frequency Environmental Monitoring System for Watershed Education Research", Journal of Engineering Education Transformations (JEET), 28(4), pp.11-22. (invited)

  • Clark, H.A., McDonald, W.M., Lohani, V.K., Dymond, R.L., 2015. "Investigating the Response of a Small Urbanized Watershed to Acute Toxicity Events via Analysis of High Frequency Environmental Data," American Journal of Undergraduate Research (AJUR), 12(3), pp. 5-17.

  • Delgoshaei, P. and Lohani, V. K., 2014. "Design and Application of a Real-Time Water Quality Monitoring Lab in Sustainability Education," International Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 1-14.

  • Lee, J., Kleczyk, E., Bosch, D., Dietrich, A., Lohani, V. K., and Loganathan, G.V., 2013. "Homeowners' Decision-Making in a Premise Plumbing Failure-Prone Area," Journal - American Water Works Association, May 2013, vol. 105, no. 5, pp. E236-E241.