University of Delaware - College of Engineering

Engineering Outreach
Assistant Dean and Director: Kathy Werrell
Academic Support Assistant: Nadine Neiger
Phone: (302) 831-8302
Fax: (302) 831-1468

Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes
Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) and Allowable Stress Design (ASD)
(Based on AASHTO LRFD Specifications, 5th Edition )

Register Online!

October 10, 11 & 12, 2012

Embassy Suites, 654 S. College Ave., Newark, DE
About one mile from the University of Delaware's Newark Campus

(2.4 ceu's or 24 professional development hours awarded for full participation**)

This popular course, MSEW & RSS, presents the latest national recommendations for design and construction practice for reinforced soil structures AND it includes wall design guidance on LRFD and ASD plus hands-on instruction in using two powerful software packages, MSEWand ReSSA, licensed to the FHWA as well as State DOT's.
Note that the AASHTO LRFD Specifications are federally mandated . This is YOUR chance to be at the forefront!

Course Description

This practical training program, based on AASHTO and FHWA technical specifications and design and construction recommendations on soil reinforcement, is presented by two nationally recognized geotechnical experts who will help YOU appreciate and implement mechanically stabilized earth walls and reinforced soil slopes (MSEW/RSS). Discussions will involve civil and geotechnical design issues. You will learn how to combine soil reinforcing materials made of steel and polymers with an appropriate facing to produce a composite structure with improved engineering properties. These earth fill construction methods are extremely cost effective and aesthetically pleasing, and they provide substantial construction time-savings compared to conventional types of earth retaining systems used in the transportation community. Registration will be limited in order to facilitate discussion and learning that takes place not only through lectures, but also through working with your peers on sample problems and getting hands-on experience with the MSEW and ReSSA software. (A calculator for problem-solving sessions and your laptop computer, on which the software will be temporarily loaded to run on Windows operating system, are required.)

Who Should Attend

Geotechnical engineers, design specialists (geotechnical, structural, roadway), engineering geologists and construction engineers; consulting engineers; technical representatives and academic community representatives who work on earth retaining structure selection, design and contracting will also find this course extremely valuable. Attendees should have a basic knowledge of soil mechanics.


"Excellent course.
Great interaction with instructors.
Relevance of material well-matched to the practicing engineer. "

Jamie Johnson
Redi-Rock International

  • This course enables you to gain practical knowledge in all areas of mechanically stabilized earth walls and reinforced soil slopes, including:
    • selection
    • design (LRFD, Allowable Stress for MSE Walls, designs beyond AASHTO)
    • construction
    • monitoring
    • contractual aspects
  • Use sophisticated MSEW and ReSSA software, temporarily loaded on your own laptop, to perform hands-on exercises -- even using the software as a forensic tool.
  • Understand the advantages and limitations of each reinforcement system.
  • **You will receive a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certificate upon successful completion of this course. (Note that CEU requirements for P.E. licence renewal vary from state to state. If your state registration board has any questions about the course, please have them contact Kathy Werrell (; 302-831-4863).

The Presenters

Dov Leshchinsky, PhD, is a professor of civil engineering at the University of Delaware (since 1982), contributing to research in the areas of slope stability engineering, soil reinforcing and ground improvement. He has developed design methods, including those for geosynthetic reinforced slopes and walls, that are being used internationally. Co-developer of software used by the USCOE, FHWA and private industry, Dr. Leshchinsky's commercial software - specifically MSEW and ReSSA, FoSSA, ReSlope, and GeoCoPS - has been used in the design of major structures around the world. His expertise is called upon in forensic studies of failed MSE walls, and he has taught numerous courses on MSE walls and slopes worldwide as well as NHI courses for state DOTs. Dr. Leshchinsky holds the PhD in geotechnical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as bachelor and master's degrees in civil engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Delaware's faculty, he was a research engineer with the Association of American Railroads.

Jerry A. DiMaggio, P.E., D.GE,, is a principal of Jerry A. DiMaggio Consulting, LLC, a specialized consulting firm serving the civil engineering and construction industry related to design, construction, monitoring and disputes resolution of structural foundations, earth retaining structures, ground improvement techniques and earthworks. Mr. DiMaggio has also served on a number of projects related to Load Resistance Factor Design (LRFD), risk management assessment/mitigation plans, value engineering, innovative contracting and accelerated construction. He is the retired (2008) Principal Bridge Engineer – Geotechnical and National Program Manager with the U.S. DOT, Federal Highway Administration in Washington D.C. Holding the BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University, he is a registered professional engineer in several states, as well as a certified Master Trainer and licensed Contract Arbitrator (AAA). He has provided consulting services related to design, construction and contract matters in all 50 states, throughout the Americas, several Middle Eastern countries and Australia, and he serves on several national committees and task forces for development of technical guidelines, specifications and testing standards related to geotechnical and foundation practice. In addition to presenting over 400 seminars and workshops on the geotechnical and foundation features of bridges, buildings, energy facilities, retaining structures and engineered earthworks, he has served as an adjunct faculty at the University of Delaware, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and The University of Akron in Ohio, and has authored numerous technical papers and publications, and edited three civil engineering texts. An extremely popular and always well-received speaker, Mr. DiMaggio is recipient of a long list of national and international honors, including the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Administrator’s Award, the International Geosynthetics Society Achievement Medal, FHWA’s “Engineer for the Year”, and recently (2008-12) receiving special awards for his career contributions from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Transportation Research Board, Schnabel Engineering, and The International Association for Foundation Drilling.  Mr. DiMaggio served on the ASCE Geo-Institute National Board of Governors (2005-2007), and was inducted into the Academy for Geotechnical Professionals in 2009.

(PDF flyer you can print and share!)

Agenda with Details

Each day:
7:30 a.m. continental breakfast

Class Times:
Wed., Thurs. & Fri., October 10, 11 & 12, 2012: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Through a combination of lectures, example problems, student exercises and discussion, this course covers the following topics:

  • MSE wall systems, applications and description
  • Site & project evaluation
  • Construction methods
  • Soil reinforcement principles
  • System design properties
  • Reinforced soil slopes: project evaluation
  • Specifications and contracting methods
  • Field inspection and monitoring
  • Multiple student exercises dealing with MSE Walls and Reinforced Soil Slopes
  • Design of reinforced slopes
  • Hands-on exercises using ReSSA software, including one on global stability of MSE Walls
  • Design of MSE Walls (ASD & LRFD) - including numerous student exercises
  • Seismic design of MSE walls and slopes
  • Design of walls with complex geometries
  • Hands-on exercises using MSEW software applying the AASHTO LRFD Specifications

Registration and General Information

Program Fee includes extensive course notes/FHWA manuals; continental breakfasts and all breaks.

Registration is limited due to the highly interactive nature of this course.

Early Registration (received by Monday, September 10, 2012) :
Registration after September 10th: $1,295/person

ALL REGISTRATIONS must be received by Friday, September 28th. (Later registrations will only be accepted pending availability of materials.)

A 10% discount coupon toward the purchase of MSEW and ReSSA software packages will be available to all participants in these courses.

REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION:  A confirmation e-mail including directions to campus and parking will be sent on or before Monday, October 1, 2012.

CANCELLATIONS and SUBSTITUTIONS: Refunds granted if the request is received in writing by September 28. No refunds after September 28, but substitutions are permitted up to the first day of class.

ACCOMMODATIONS and TRANSPORTATION: Participants are responsible for making their own housing and transportation arrangements.  Air transportation should be arranged to either Philadelphia or Baltimore airport.  Call early and ask if the University of Delaware affiliated rates are available for the dates you are requesting from the following hotels:
Courtyard by Marriott - UD Campus Hotel - 400 Pencader Way, Newark, DE, 1-302-737-0900
The following are each less than two miles from campus:
Sleep Inn - 630 S. College Ave.(Rt.896N), Newark, DE, 1-302-453-1700
Howard Johnson Inn - 1119 S. College Ave., Newark, DE, 1-302-368-8521
Embassy Suites - 654 S. College Ave., Newark, DE 1-302-368-8000
Homewood Suites - 640 S. College Ave., Newark DE 1-302-453-9700

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