Instructor Spotlight Q&A with Bob Gilbert, Ph.D.

February 23, 2022

An expert in geotechnical engineering, Dr. Bob Gilbert is chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering and is a long-time instructor in the TxEEE Offshore Engineering Professional Development Course Series (enroll now)! Dr. Gilbert was elected to the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) in 2020. Election to the academy is among the highest professional distinctions for an engineer. We are thrilled to have him as an instructor in all three courses in the Offshore series.

Gilbert BobDr. Gilbert was recognized by the NAE for advancing the use of reliability analyses, risk assessment and risk-based decision making for complex engineering projects. He is a past recipient of the Norman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Regents Award for Outstanding Teaching from The University of Texas System, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and numerous other honors.

Dr. Gilbert shares his experience as an instructor in TxEEE’s offshore course series in the following Q&A:

Why do you think the Offshore Course series is valuable and how can engineers and other professionals benefit from investing in these courses?

Engineering students are rarely, if ever, exposed to the practice of offshore engineering in college and I am not aware of any other courses like these in the world. The practice of offshore engineering developed here in Texas starting in the 1950’s, and the course offers both a set of instructors who were instrumental in its development and a glimpse into the rich history of that development. Possibly most importantly, the course provides a great networking opportunity for offshore engineers around the globe.

Are there any new concepts and/or content you plan to share for the upcoming courses that connect to recent challenges and trends in the industry?

I think we all need to be addressing how we are now using the practices and technologies we developed for offshore oil and gas production in the emerging world of offshore renewable energy, including wind, current, wave and thermal energy.

Why do you like teaching in this course series?

Because I love applying our engineering skills to real-world problems that are important. Over the 40+ years we have been offering this course, we have gone from producing energy in 300 feet of water to over 10,000 feet of water as one example of how technology has changed through the years.