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Deborah J. Goodings, PEng

Dewberry Professor and Associate Dean
Email: goodings@gmu.edu
2100 Nguyen Engineering Building


  • PhD, Geotechnical Engineering, Cambridge University, 1979
  • BASc, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto, 1975


Geotechnical Engineering


Geotechnical engineering, Extreme geotechnics (freezing, fire, and blast effects; sinkholes), International development engineering, Ground improvement/grouting, River scour, Reinforced soil, Soil strength characterization

Selected professional service:

  • Visiting committees and program review panels:
    • Oak Ridge Associated Universities Board, 2014 to 2015
    • McMaster University (Canada), Master of Engineering and Public Policy program, 2012
    • University of Delaware, Dep’t of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 2007 – 2010
    • University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Evaluation Review Team for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Learning, 2009
    • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Canada, Civil Engineering Grant Selection Committee, 2005-2008
    • University of British Columbia (Canada), Dep’t of Civil Engineering, 2007
    • US Army Research Office, Biennial Environmental Sciences Program Review, 2005
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dep’t of Civil & Environmental Engineering, 1996-2002
  • Selected professional leadership roles:
    • National Academies/National Research Council
      • Board on Earth Sciences and Resources (BESR), 2014
      • Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering (COGGE), 2011 – 2014
      • Transportation Research Board, Chairman, Soil Mechanics Section AFS00, 2005-2008
      • Study panel: Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technological Innovation, 2003 – 2005
    • U.S. Universities Council on Geotechnical Engineering Research, President, Executive Board, 2001-2003

Faculty profile:

Deborah J. Goodings is a professor of geotechnical engineering. She is currently serving as the director of the Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Division at the US National Science Foundation and is on leave from GMU during this IPA appointment.

Dr. Goodings joined the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering in the Volgenau School at George Mason University in 2009 as the Dewberry Professor and CEIE Department Chairman.  Her prior appointment was as Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland. In addition to her teaching and research accomplishments, Dr. Goodings launched and co-directed, with the School of Public Policy, the Master of Engineering and Public Policy program; and initiated and led the award-winning UMD student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA.

Her career accomplishments have been recognized with awards from the Department of the Army (Outstanding Civilian Service Medal); the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board (Fred Burggraf Award; and Emerita Member status); the U.S. Universities Council on Geotechnical Engineering Research (Distinguished Service Award); Professional Engineers Ontario (the Engineering Medal for Engineering Excellence); and the University of Maryland (awards for teaching, and for faculty leadership of Engineers Without Borders-USA including creation of a faculty chair in her honor).  She has served as a member of visiting and review committees to various organizations, some listed above.  She is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers; a Diplomate, Geotechnical Engineering; a registered professional engineer in Ontario; and a By-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University.

Selected publications:

J. Garnier, C. Gaudin, S.M. Springman, P.J. Culligan, D.J. Goodings, D. Konig, B. Kutter, R. Phillips, M.F. Randolph, L. Thorel (2007) “Catalogue of Scaling Laws and Similitude Questions in Geotechnical Centrifuge Modelling” International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, Vol. 7, pp 1-24

W.L. Fourney, U. Leiste, R. Bonenburger, and D. Goodings (2005), “Explosive Impulse on Plates” International Journal for Blasting and Fragmentation – FRAGBLAST, Volume 9, No. 1,   pp1-18.

S. Han, and D.J. Goodings (2006), “A Simple Model for Prediction of Frost Heave in Clay”, ASCE Geotechnical Journal, Vol 132, January, pp 92-101

D.J. Goodings, and W. Abdullah, (2002) “Stability Charts for Predicting Sinkholes in Weakly Cemented Sand over Karst Limestone”, Engineering Geology Journal,Vol 65, August (2-3),  pp 179-184.

S.C. Nichols, and D.J. Goodings,(2000) “Physical Model Testing of Compaction Grouting in Cohesionless Soil”, ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Volume 126, No. 9, September, pp 848-852

D.J. Goodings, and S.A. Ketcham, (2001) “Research vs Practice in Transportation Geotechnics: Can We Bridge the Chasm?”, ASCE Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, Volume 127, No. 1,January, pp 26-31

P.G. Suah and D.J.Goodings, (2001) “Failure of Geotextile Reinforced Soil Walls with Marginal Backfill”, Journal of the Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, No. 1772-Soil Mechanics, pp 183-189