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Denise R. Simmons

Associate Dean for Workforce Development and Associate Professor

Office 312D Weil Hall Mailing P.O. Box 116550 Gainesville FL 32611 Office Phone: 352-294-1009


Denise Rutledge Simmons, Ph.D., F. ASEE, PE, PMP, LEED-AP, is a civil engineer, civil engineering researcher, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, and the Associate Dean for Workforce Development in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. She earned her B.S. (1990), M.S. (1995), and Ph.D. (2012) in Civil Engineering from Clemson University. She has spent over a decade in industry and nearly two decades in academia. Through her scholarship, she has made high-impact contributions to expanding the engineering workforce through the study of the professional preparation of engineers. Her work has not only advanced the profession by helping the field to understand how to recruit and prepare more diverse engineers, but it has also helped these professionals to be fulfilled in their careers, thus retaining them as practicing engineers. 

Simmons is the director of the Simmons Research Lab, where she leads a team of researchers focused on advancing the field of civil engineering through competency development, education, and training. As the Associate Dean for Workforce Development in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida, she is committed to promoting accessible, high quality, and inclusive engineering education. Supported by approximately $8.7M in federal funding, Simmons has published over 100 refereed articles that have contributed significantly to expanding the engineering workforce and creating a more diverse and inclusive culture in the industry. Her work has had a significant impact on the engineering profession, helping industry prepare, recruit, and retain in fulfilling careers more diverse engineers who are equipped to address the challenges of society.

Simmons is a recipient of multiple awards and grants, including the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award, in support and recognition of her pioneering work in the field.  In 2023, the American Society for Engineering Education elected her to Fellow Membership in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Society.