College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Asphalt Institute Foundation donates textbooks for civil engineering course

Students in CE 382 hold their books high after with instructors Chris Williams and Ashley Buss. (Photo by Kate Tindall).
Students in CE 382 hold their books high after with instructors Chris Williams and Ashley Buss. <i>(Photo by Kate Tindall).</i>
Students in CE 382 hold their books high after class with instructors Chris Williams and Ashley Buss. (Photo by Kate Tindall).

Students pay $0 for textbooks, thanks to start-of-school donation

Ninety civil engineering students taking Design of Concretes (CE 382) this semester will not spend a penny on textbooks thanks to a generous gift from the Asphalt Institute Foundation (AIF).

Professor Chris Williams and Assistant Professor Ashley Buss teach geotechnical/materials engineering at Iowa State University’s Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering. The pair co-teach CE 382. In the class, students use assigned textbooks for eight weeks out of the semester.

Williams and Buss wanted to improve this class for students. With books costing nearly $200, it was hard to justify the cost to undergraduates. So, the two faculty members started searching for a solution.

During the past year, Williams organized discussions between leaders of various professional institutes and organizations. He and Buss wanted to make access to textbook resources easy for students and faculty. They also wanted to enhance the CE 382 curriculum with a more robust study of asphalt engineering and expand this to other institutions beyond ISU.

When the AIF heard about the professors’ goals, it agreed to donate three required textbooks for every student enrolled in the course. The textbooks are Asphalt Binder Testing-MS-25, 3rd Edition; Asphalt Mix Design Methods, MS-2, 7th Edition; and Construction of Hot Mix Asphalt Pavements, MS-22, 2nd Edition. The Asphalt Institute publishes these texts.

“There has been a lot of advancement in technology and the ability to improve delivery of educational materials over the past several years through online videos and e-books,” Williams said. “Being able to partner with the Asphalt Institute Foundation to improve classroom delivery of asphalt materials knowledge is a tremendous benefit. We hope to enhance the educational experience at Iowa State University and provide an improved asphalt materials educational platform for other institutions across the country.”

“The donation of these textbooks is an opportunity to reshape the course and improve the overall quality of our lectures, homework and labs for CE 382 …,” Buss explained. “These texts do an excellent job introducing students to asphalt materials by providing excellent diagrams and clear explanation of concepts that students often find confusing.”

According to Susie Tanner, AIF’s Program & Development Manager, the donation of the books fits with AIF’s mission “to conduct strategic research and educational activities that are designed to advance and improve the liquid asphalt industry.” AIF looks forward to continuing this partnership with Iowa State after the fall semester, with hopes of expanding to other universities and colleges across the nation in the future. More information is on its website,

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