Vern Schaefer


Interim Director, CEER





Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering


InTrans, CEER

About Vern

Dr. Vern Schaefer’s research has covered a wide variety of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering areas, predominately in landslides and slope stability, ground improvement, earth retention systems, engineering behavior of over-consolidated clays and clay shales, glacial till permeability, water and contaminant migration in fractured soils, and geotechnical aspects of pavement systems. He has developed 44 projects, generating over $9M in research from the National Science Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, United States Geological Survey, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and numerous state agencies. Dr. Schaefer was the primary investigator for the SHRP2 R02 project Geotechnical Solutions for Soil Improvement, Rapid Embankment Construction, and Stabilization of the Pavement Working Platform from 2007 to 2013. This $3.7M project was aimed at improving access to geotechnical engineering technologies for transportation infrastructure and developed the GeoTechTools web-based information and guidance system, which is currently being deployed to state DOTs across the country. 


  • PhD, Civil Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1987 
  • MS, Civil Engineering, Iowa State University, 1981 
  • BS, Civil Engineering, South Dakota State University, 1978 

Professional Experience

  • Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, 2003–present 
  • Focus Group Leader, Geotechnical & Materials Engineering, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Iowa State University, 2012–present
  • Geotechnical Engineering Specialist, Office of Infrastructure, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC, 2013–2014

Completed Research

In-Progress Research