Faculty Profile

Arthur R Schmidt

Arthur R Schmidt
Arthur R Schmidt

Primary Research Area

  • Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering-Water Resources, University of Illinois 2002
  • M.S., Civil Engineering-Water Resources, University of Illinois 1984
  • B.S., Civil Engineering-Water Resources, University of Illinois 1983

Academic Positions

  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Aug 2003 - Present

Major Consulting Activities

  • Consulting-Subconsultant to CDM, Inc. (Chicago) for hydrologic study of wetlands draining to Lake Michigan in Lake County, Illinois. This is part of an EPA-funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative study. My role is to design the hydrologic monitoring program, specify the instruments and design the instrument stations, train CDM employees to install, operate, and maintain these stations, and provide QA/QC review of the data. March 2011- December 2012
  • Consulting; Environmental Management Support, Inc.￿reviewing report developed for E.S. EPA on water quality and quantity benefits of brownfield redevelopment compared to greenfield development. March - July, 2010
  • Expert witness; Organization: Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, Belleville, IL; Location: East St, Louis, IL.; Developed hydraulic models of roadway drainage for railroad overpass. 2009 - present
  • Consulting￿Retained as flow-measurement expert by International Great Lakes Commission (Contract from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Battelle, Inc., to me; 2nd contract to University for support of this work). This work is examining the stage-discharge relations used to determine the flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie. This is part of a larger study to determine causes of declining levels in the upper Great Lakes. February 2008- June 2009
  • Expert witness; Organization: Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, Belleville, IL; Location: Crawford County, IL.; Developed hydrologic and hydraulic models to determine conditions leading to failure of culvert. 2004 - present
  • Consulting￿Worked with SonTek YSI, Inc. on developing and submitting a (successful) proposal for a USDA SBIR grant to develop a new flow-measurement instrument. Worked with SonTEK YSI, Inc. engineers to develop and implement a series of field tests related to development of the new instrument, and reviewed results of these tests. Worked with SonTEK YSI Inc to develop proposal for second phase of this SBIR. This work resulted in development of a new instrument that WAS released in fall 2011. Working to test and evaluate performance of new instrument June 2007 - present
  • Developed hydraulic model of dam break and resulting flood from breach of Silver Lake, Michigan. Organization: Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago, IL December 2006 - May 2007
  • Taught short course titled, ￿Index Velocity Methods for Streamflow Computation.￿ Course was sponsored by University of Illinois Office of Continuing Engineering Education and SonTek/YSI, Inc.: Location: University of Illinois (Office of Continuing Engineering Education) and Las Vegas, Nevada (SonTek/YSI, Inc. July & October 2006
  • Review of ￿Report on Comparison Tests for Doppler Pulse Equipment in Broadband and Narrow Band￿ by Mexican Institute for Water Technology (IMTA). Work is sponsored by SonTek/YSI Inc. Work involves review of comparison tests done near Mexicali, Mexico. Work also involves on-going test measurements in canals of Imperial Irrigation District, Calexico, CA. 2005 - 2007
  • Taught short course titled, ￿Index Velocity Methods for Streamflow Computation￿ for Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, Republic of South Africa. Course was sponsored by SonTek/YSI, Inc.: Location: DWAF Training Center, Boskop Dam, RSA. August 2005

Professional Registrations

  • Registered Professional Engineer￿Florida P.E. No. 54534 1999 - present
  • Registered Professional Engineer￿Illinois P.E. No. 062-044049 1988-present

Teaching Statement

My philosophy on teaching is based on the fundamental belief that I am entrusted with the responsibility to both pass on and model tools and values that will benefit the students not only in their engineering career, but, if I am truly successful, throughout the course of their lives.  This philosophy was formed in a large part by observing my mentor, the late Professor Ben Chie Yen.  His patient, thought-provoking guidance and instruction provided a foundation that continues to direct my thinking and career goals.  He patiently and purposefully combined instruction, his example, and, most importantly, guidance so his students would learn by experience. This teaching was not limited to the scope of our academic endeavors; he provided skills of great value in both my professional and personal communities.  I hope to follow this extraordinary example in my career as an educator and mentor.


Among the tools that I am entrusted to pass on to my students, foremost in both my classroom instruction and in guiding student research, is developing the logical reasoning necessary to successfully address the widely varied problems they are likely to face in their careers.  The logical reasoning includes the ability to critically analyze a problem, to synthesize the details of the problem with other information and experience, to apply their integrated knowledge and experience to develop alternative approaches to address the problem, to logically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the alternatives, and to clearly communicate the process and resulting conclusions.  As a teacher, I need to discern the knowledge, experience, and skills of my students and adapt my instruction and expectations to incrementally improve their ability to implement this logical reasoning process.


I believe that I need to constantly adapt my teaching to reflect student feedback, particularly to ensure that my teaching is appropriate to the knowledge, experience, and skills of my students.  In order for this to be timely and effective, this feedback cannot be limited to students’ performance on assignments and examinations; I must routinely provide a variety of avenues to obtain this feedback and these avenues should encompass a variety of learning styles.  In keeping with this belief, I incorporate many opportunities for student feedback throughout my classroom teaching.  Some of the feedback opportunities I incorporate into my teaching include:

·             Planned active learning exercises into each day’s lesson plan; both to obtain student  feedback and to “reset the attention clock;”

·             Included an on-line discussion area, which gives the students an ‘around-the-clock’ forum to post questions, respond to other queries or responses, and see (and comment on) my responses;

·             Incorporated a 5-minute break into each lecture, which works to provide those students who are not comfortable commenting in front of the class an opportunity to ask questions;

·             Included an informal early feedback evaluation of the course and my teaching; and

·             Provided comment cards and a comment box at the exit of the classroom and allocate time at the end of each lecture for the students to write any comments/questions about the course, the material covered, etc.

·             Developed on-line quizzes to provide quick feedback to me and to the students.  These always include a “muddiest point” question where the students communicate the portion of the recent material where they would like further clarification.


I intentionally stay abreast of contemporary issues related to the material that I am teaching.  This is not limited to advances in research, but also common professional practice.  For example, while teaching the surface drainage course I routinely follow the discussions in on-line forums sponsored by the major providers of surface-drainage software.  This allows me to identify common misconceptions and errors in surface-drainage design and to provide my students with the knowledge and understanding to correctly address these issues when they arise in their careers.




I believe that my teaching needs to provide students with resources that will be beneficial in their careers.  My goal is that the text and supplemental reference materials from my courses will become worn out with use over the course of the students’ careers.  Selecting these materials should balance the utility of the material with the cost to the students and the Department.  I continue to explore options to better provide reference materials to the students.  I used a custom, electronic text that I developed with Prentiss-Hall one semester (a failed effort, based on student feedback).  Because of the feedback, the next time I taught this course, I posted reference materials from a variety of sources to the Compass site (much better reception from students).


Dr. Schmdit has been active in providing on-line as well as on-campus instruction for the past 10 years.  His course CEE 453 has been one of the Department’s on-line courses since 2006.  He has also taught CEE 551 and CEE 598 IUW for the CEE-Online program.  In the course of teaching these ourses, he has developed means to provide on-line office hours, using Lync and Adobe Connect software, so that on-line and on-campus students and interact synchronously for office hours, as well as providing recordings of office hours for students to access asynchronously.

Research Statement

Dr. Schmidt's research interests are in the study of surface-water hydraulics and hydrology, with particular emphasis in two areas: (1) providing better understanding of the hydraulics and hydrology of urban storm-water management systems and (2) provide improved measurement and quantitative description of streamflow and related parameters, including quantification of the uncertainty in the reported values. 


In the area of urban hydrology and hydraulics, Dr. Schmidt’s research seeks develop improved methods to simulate the complicated hydrologic and hydraulics processes in complex urban environments, to develop methods to quantify the effect of various Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) practices on the hydrology and hydraulic behavior of urban systems, and to develop and apply improved sensors for hydraulic measurements, particularly in complex environments such as urban and agricultural systems.  Dr. Schmidt and his students have developed new numerical models to simulate the hydrologic and hydraulic response of urban drainage systems.  In particular, his team has developed probabilistic urban models for catchments where the data describing the hydrologic properties of the catchment and the hydraulic parameters of the drainage system are too sparse to allow a deterministic model.  He and his students have developed a system of models that allow different levels of sophistication depending on the objectives of a given study and applied these to a study of the drainage system for the 970 km2 watershed served by the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan in Chicago.  This system allowed fast simulations coupled with a genetic-algorithm optimization to examine real-time control rules for stormwater gates and pumps, yet also could provide simulation of hydraulic transients in the tunnel system.  This system continues to be expanded, with on-going research to incorporate sophisticated small-scale simulations of the hydrologic response of SUDS practices (green roofs, rain gardens, etc) into both probabilistic and deterministic catchment models and apply these to examine the impacts of SUDS at the catchment scale and under potentially changing climate scenarios.


In the area of developing methods to provide improved measurement and quantitative description of streamflow and related parameters, Dr. Schmidt is working to study new methods to apply multi-platform sensor systems (e.g., LiDAR, GPS, ADCP, water-quality sensors) to measure entire reaches of streams, to merge the data from the different sensors, and then to use the resulting data base to improve the analysis and understanding of entire reaches of streams.  Dr. Schmidt has applied these tools to provide fine resolution maps of shear stress, habitat suitability, and hydrokinetic power potential and is currently developing tools to apply these tools to provide better calibration and validation of 2-D and 3-D hydrodynamic models.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

In the past three year Dr. Schmidt has supervised eight undergraduate students doing REU research on topics including examining data from monitoring rainfall on and runoff from conventional and green roofs,modeling sustainable urban drainage systems, examining uncertainty in different measurement methods utilizing acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), and developing probabilistic methods to optimally schedule sewer maintenance.

Research Interests

  • Surface-water hydraulics and hydrology, emphasis on measurement methods; urban stormwater drainage systems, including best management practices, risk-based design, and real-time control; and reliability-analysis applications for in water-resources and environmental engineering.

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

  • Tang, Y. and Schmidt, A.R., (2013). ￿Probabilistic Hydrologic Model to Simulate Response of Urban Drainage System to Implementation of Low Impact Development Stormwater Practices,￿ EWRI World Environmental Congress, May 19-23, 2013, Cincinnati, OH
  • Choi, N.J., and Schmidt, A.R., (2013). ￿Elemental Unit Hydrograph Approach to Estimate Infiltration and Inflow in Urban Area,￿ EWRI World Environmental Congress, May 19-23, 2013, Cincinnati, OH
  • Choi, N.J., and Schmidt, A.R., (2012). ￿Infiltration and Inflow in a Sanitary Sewer System,￿ Korean Student Technical & Leadership Conference, March 16-18, 2012, Chicago, IL
  • Zimmer, A., Minsker, B., Schmidt, A.R., and Ostfeld, A. (2011). ￿Computationally Implicit Hydraulics for Real-Time Combined Sewer Overflow Modeling and Decision Support,￿ Crossing Boundaries, Proceedings of the 2012 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, May 20-24, 2012, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Zimmer, A., Minsker, B., Schmidt, A.R., and Ostfeld, A. (2011). "Hydraulic Modeling and Evolutionary Optimization for Enhanced Real-Time Decision Support of Combined Sewer overflows," AGU Fall Meeting 2011, 5-9 December 2011, San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Schmidt, A.R., Huhta, C., and Sloat, J. (2011). "Velocity Distribution and Flow modeling in Small Irrigation Canals," The Struggle for Efficiency — Actions and Consequences, Proc. United States Council on Irrigation and Drainage Conference, San Diego, California — November 15-18, 2011
  • Cantone, J.P, Fitzpatrick, K., and Schmidt, A.R., (2011) "An Innovative hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling Approach for MWRDGC's Calumet TARP System," WEFTEC 2011, Water Environment Federation, October 17-19, 2011, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Zimmer, A., Minsker, B., Schmidt, A.R., and Ostfeld, A. (2011). ￿Benefits of Meta‐Model Validation for Real‐Time Sewer System Decision Support,￿ Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability, Proceedings of the 2011 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, May 22-26, 2011, Palm Springs, CA
  • Schmidt, A.R., Huhta, C., and Sloat, J. (2011). ￿Flow modeling and velocity distribution in small irrigation canals,￿ Proc., XXXIV IAHR Congress, Brisbane, Australia
  • Cantone, J.P., Hollander, M., and Schmidt, A.R., (2011). "Probabilistic Hydrologic Simulation of Urbanized Catchments with Sparse Data,"Proc., XXXIV IAHR Congress, Brisbane, Australia

Other Publications

  • Polonichko, V., Cabrera, R., Sloat, J., Hull, M.J., and Schmidt, A.R., , ￿METHOD FOR MEASURING RIVER DISCHARGE IN THE PRESENCE OF MOVING BOTTOM,￿ (Docket No. 650271-00166)

Professional Societies

  • EWRI-ASCE, Member, Technical Committee on Hydraulic Measurements and Experimentation, since July 2005
  • EWRI-ASCE, Member, Watershed Council, since October, 2005
  • EWRI-ASCE, Vice-Chair, Committee on Probabilistic Methods in Water Resources since October, 2005, Chair since October, 2007

Service on Department Committees

  • UIUC-CEE, Member, CEE Design Council, since January, 2004
  • UIUC-CEE, Member, ABET Visit Preparation, since September, 2005

Service to Federal and State Government

  • Retained (2008-2009) as flow-measurement expert by International Great Lakes Commission to examine the stage-discharge relations used to determine the flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie. This is part of a larger study to determine causes of declining levels in the upper Great Lakes.
  • Dr. Schmidt served (2002-2003) as a consultant to the Chairman of the 5th Technical Committee for Lake Michigan Diversion Accounting.
  • Dr. Schmidt served (1998-2001) as the ￿Flow Measurement Expert￿ for the 4th Technical Committee to provide the U.S. Supreme Court-mandated review of accounting for diversion from Lake Michigan.

Other Outside Service

  • Member, local organizing committee for the Water 2004 conference that was held in Urbana in October, 2004.

Teaching Honors

  • Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent by their students (2012)
  • Incomplete list of teachers ranked as excellent by their students (2012)

Research Honors

  • Dr. Schmidt￿s thesis was selected for the Universities Council on Water Resources Ph.D. Dissertation Award in Natural Science and Engineering. (2003)

Public Service Honors

  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2013)
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2011)
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2009)
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising (2005)