James S. Gidley


Office Phone: 724-847-6719

Disciplines/Field of Instruction

  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

Degrees Received

  • Ph.D., 1981, Engineering, Harvard University
  • S.M., 1976, Engineering, Harvard University
  • B.S., 1975, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Rhode Island

Courses Taught

  • EGR 100 Calling and Vocation
  • EGR 101 Introduction to Engineering
  • EGR 304 Technology and Society
  • EGR 314 Engineering Thermodynamics
  • EGR 401 Christian Ethics and Engineering
  • EGR 481, 482 Senior Design Project
  • CIE 407 Geotechnical Engineering
  • CIE 451 Urban Hydrology

Selected Engineering Presentations/Publications

  • Shaw, David W., and Gidley, James S. “Addressing the Liberal Arts in a Core Engineering Class: Theology, Philosophy, Social Ethics, and The Second Law of Thermodynamics,” Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah, Session 3261, June 23, 2004.
  • Onu, Chukwu, Gidley, James S., and Sack, William, “Enhanced Energy Recovery from Municipal Solid wastes in Sanitary Landfills by TwoPhase Digestion of Biomass,” The Journal of Resource Management and Technology, 20, 2, 57-69, 1992.
  • Bowders, John J., Gidley, James S., and Usmen, Mumtaz A., “Permeability and Leachate Characteristics of Stabilized Class F Fly Ash”, Transportation Research Record, 1288, 70-77, 1990.
  • Harrington, Joseph J., and Gidley, James S., “The Variability of Alternative Decisions in a Water Resources Planning Problem,” Water Resources Research, 21, 12, 1831-1840, 1985.
  • Gidley, James S., and Sack, William A., “Environmental Aspects of Waste Utilization in Construction,” Journal of Environmental Engineering, ASCE, 110, 6, 1117-1133, 1984.

Selected Non-Engineering Presentations/Publications

  • Gidley, James S., “The Wonderful Anchor,” New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vol. 30, No. 8, August, 2009, p. 17.
  • Gidley, James S., “The Soul of Frankenstein,” Ordained Servant, Vol. 16, 2007, pp. 62-65.  (originally published electronically, June-July, 2007; available at http://opc.org/os.html?article_id=49 )
  • Gidley, James S., “James and Justification by Faith,” New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vol. 26, No. 2, February 2005, pp. 3-6.
  • Gidley, James S., “Just the Facts, Mark, Just the Facts”, Kerux: A Journal of Biblical-Theological Preaching, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 32-62, 1997.
  • Gidley, James S., “Engineering and the Wisdom of God,” New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 4, 1990.

Current Projects

  • Campus ADA Audit and Compliance. 
    Several students under my direction have audited the campus for compliance with regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), have developed proposals to bring various aspects of the campus in to compliance, and have prioritized them.  Ongoing work involves detailed earthwork design for regrading walkways that are currently out of compliance.  Future work may include mechanical design of a moving shelving system for the library, cost estimation for alternative designs, and/or other goals.
  • Foundation Design. 
    A team of three students under my direction designed a foundation for a dormitory, using a hypothetical site on the rugby field.  The project involved (1) research, field work, and lab work to estimate soil properties; (2) the evaluation of alternative designs such as spread footings, a mat foundation, and piles; and (3) cost estimation.
  • Sewer Design Using Cost Minimization. 
    The design of a sewer system is best approached as a systems engineering problem in which the various elements of the system (pipes, pumps, manholes, etc.) are integrated in a way that functions properly and minimizes costs of construction, operation, and maintenance.  A senior under my direction recently created a spreadsheet to produce minimum cost designs of a specific conventional gravity sewer system with lift stations, using a fairly sophisticated mathematical model. Future work would involve extending the work previously accomplished to more complicated design situations and including pressure sewers, storm sewers, and/or vacuum sewers.
  • Mary Shelley′s Frankenstein.
    This classic novel has often been interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of developing new technologies. In my research on the novel I have found that its fundamental message is about the nature of what it means to be human, specifically, the implications of viewing human beings as mere technological artifacts.  Therefore the novel has implications for both the Christian world view and our view of technology.

Award Received

  • 1986 State-of-the-Art of Civil Engineering Award: American Society of Civil Engineers, for the paper “Environmental Aspects of Waste Utilization in Construction” (see publications above)

Professional Society Memberships

  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society for Engineering Education

Ecclesiastical Service

  • Elder, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, ordained 1985; currently serving on the Session of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Sewickley, Penn.
  • Elected Moderator of the 67th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, meeting at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, July 5-12, 2000.
  • Currently President of the Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.