Stephen Silliman, Ph.D.

Professor, Civil Engineering; Dean on Professional Leave

Dr. Silliman has been pursuing university teaching and research for more than 30 years. Joining Gonzaga University as the Dean of Engineering and Applied Science in 2012, Dr. Silliman brought with him a love of working with students, a desire to understand...

Stephen Silliman

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 1986

Masters in Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 1982

BSE in Civil Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 1979

Courses Taught

CENG 416 Hydrogeology

ENSC 193 STEM in Developing Countries

ENSC 491 Senior Design Project I

ENSC 492 Senior Design Project II


Dr. Silliman has been pursuing university teaching and research for more than 30 years. Joining Gonzaga University as the Dean of Engineering and Applied Science in 2012, Dr. Silliman brought with him a love of working with students, a desire to understand the potential for engineering / applied science to help shape the natural and built environments, and a curiosity of how engineering / mathematics / statistics can help us to understand God’s creation. His research efforts have focused on the protection and sustainability of groundwater resources as studied through mathematical and physical experiments on groundwater flow and the movement of chemicals/microbes in the subsurface. Since the late 1990s, Dr. Silliman has worked with colleagues from the Université d’Abomey-Calavi and Centre Afrika Obota (an NGO) in Benin, West Africa, on various initiatives related to water resources and development.
  • Lindsay, K., J. Bradford, S. Silliman, N. Yalo, and M. Boukari, 2015, “Seismic imaging to help understand and manage water quality in coastal Benin, West Africa”, Geophysics, 80(3), 35-41.
  • Pratt, T.G., Z. Lin, S. Di Sabatino, L. Leo, N. Dodson, B. Strycker, S. Silliman, J. Fernando, 2015, “Field-scale remote sensing of soil moisture based on polarimetric characterization of microwave reflections”, Measurement Science and Technology, 26(10).
  • Silliman, S., T. Boggan, V.A. Labay, G.D. Ricco, and S Girtz, 2015, “Characteristics of students self-selecting into a freshman living-learning community for engineers and computer scientists”, Proceedings, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition.
  • Rodak, C., S.E. Silliman, D. Bolster, 2014, “Time-Dependent Health Risk from Contaminated Groundwater Including Use of Reliability, Resilience, and Vulnerability as Measures, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 50(1), 14-28.
  • McInnis, E., S. Silliman, M. Boukari, N. Yalo, S. Orou-Pete, C. Fertenbaugh, K. Sarre, and H. Fayomi, 2013, “Combined application of electrical resistivity and shallow groundwater sampling to assess salinity in a shallow coastal aquifer in Benin, West Africa”, Journal of Hydrology,  , 505, 335-345.
  • Rodak, C., S.E. Silliman, D. Bolster, 2013, “Time-Dependent Health Risk from Contaminated Groundwater Including Use of Reliability, Resilience, and Vulnerability as Measures, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, DOI 10.1111/jawr.12103.
  • Lindsay, K., J. Bradford, S. Silliman, N. Yalo, and M. Boukari, 2013, “Seismic imaging to help understand and manage water quality in coastal Benin, West Africa”, SEG national meeting, Houston, Texas, http://dx.doi.org/10.1190/segam2013-1406.1, 1249 – 1253.
  • Meyers, K.L., M.W. Ohland, A.L. Pawley, S.E. Silliman and K.A. Smith, 2012, “Factors relating to engineering identity”, Global Journal of Engineering Education, 14(1), 119 - 131
  • Meyers, K. et al., 2012, “How Self-Identification and Views of Engineering Change with Time A Study of Students and Professionals from a Single Institution”, Int. Jour. of Engineering Education,28(1), 103-112.
  • Rodak, C. and S. Silliman, 2011, “Probabilistic risk analysis and fault trees: Initial discussion of application to identification of risk at a wellhead”, Advances in Water Resources, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.advwatres.2011.02.005.
  • Silliman, S.E., E. Fisker, and J. Pescatore, 2011, “Potential for establishing non-vertical flow within the vadose zone”, Vadose Zone Journal, 10, 425 - 436.
  • Silliman, S.E., M. Boukari, L. Lougbegnon, and F. Azonsi, 2011, “Overview of a Multifaceted Research Program in Benin, West Africa: An International Year of Plent Earth Groundwater Project”, Chapter 11, Sustaining Groundwater Resources: A Critical Element in the Global Water Crisis (International Year of Planet Earth), Springer Publishing, ISBN13: 9789048134250, 175-186.
  • Silliman, S.E., B.I. Borum, M. Boukari, N. Yalo, S. Orou-Pete, D. McInnis, C. Fertenbaugh and A. Mullen, 2010, “Issues of sustainability of coastal groundwater resources: Benin, West Africa”, Sustainability, 2(8), 2652-2675, doi: 10.3390/su2082652.
  • Silliman, S.E., R.H. Mohtar, K.G. Paterson, and W.P. Ball, 2010, “Engineering academic program for hydrophilanthropy: Commonalities and challenges”, Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, University Council on Water Resources, 145, 5-29.
  • Meyers, K.L., S.E. Silliman, N.L. Gedde, and M.W. Ohland, 2010, “A comparison of engineering students’ reflections on first year experience”, Journal of Engineering Education, 99(2), 169-178.
  • Silliman, S.E., 2009, “Assessing experiences of international students in Haiti and Benin”, IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 28(4), 16-+,
  • Crane, P.E., S.E. Silliman, and M. Boukari, 2009, “Community-based groundwater quality monitoring: An initial discussion”, Sustainable Groundwater Resources in Africa: Water supply and sanitation environment, CRC Press, Xu and Braune (editors), Chapter 17, 282 pp.
  • Crane, P.E., and S.E. Silliman, “Alternatives in Sampling Strategies and Methods for Estimation of Parameters of Groundwater Quality in Rural Regions of Developing Countries”, Ground Water, 47(5), 699-708, 2009.
  • Silliman, S.E., P.E. Crane, M. Boukari, F. Azonsi, and F. Glidja, “Spatial and temporal groundwater quality monitoring in rural Benin, West Africa: An example of collaboration with local populations”, Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Groundwater  & Climate in Africa, Kampala, Uganda, IAHS publication 334-08, 2009.
  • Silliman, S.E., C. Hamlin, P. Crane, and M. Boukari, “International Collaborations and Incorporating the Social Sciences in Research in Hydrology and Hydrologic Engineering”, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 13(1), 13-19, 2008.
  • Silliman, S.E. and K. Meyers, “Discussion of impact of different educational experiences in Haiti and Benin on undergraduate engineering students”, Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Global Colloquium on Engineering Education.
  • Silliman, S.E., M. Boukari, P. Crane, F. Azonsi, and C.R. Neal, “Observations on Element Concentrations of Groundwater in Central Benin”, Journal of Hydrology, 335(3-4), 374-388, 2007 (dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2006.12.005).
  • Silliman, S.E., “Observations from a project to encourage multiple-year, international collaboration on research for undergraduates”, Proceedings of the 2007 Annual ASEE Conference, Paper AC 2007-257, 2007.
  • Petruzzi, N.M. and S.E. Silliman, “A sampling device for collection of ground water bacteria under natural gradient flow”, Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation, 26(1), 85-91, Winter, 2006.
  • Silliman, S.E., M. Boukari, and P. Crane, “International Student Collaboration Through Projects Using Common Software and Field Experiences: Foundation to Project Development”, Proceedings, Frontiers in Education National Conference, Session S3C, paper 1524, 2006.
  • Dunn, A.M., S.E. Silliman, S. Dhamwichukorn, and C.F. Kulpa, “Demonstration of Microbial Transport into the Capillary Fringe via Advection from Below the Water Table”, Journal of Hydrology, 306(1-4), 50-58, 2005.
  • Silliman, S.E., M. Boukari, and P. Crane, “A Collaborative Project in West Africa: Student Research Experience in Development”, Proceedings of the Frontiers in Education National Conference, Session S1D, Paper 1627, 2005.
  • Silliman, S.E., K. Abbott, G.C. Clark, and L. McWilliams, , “Use of a Tablet PC and Wireless Connectivity for Effective Lectures in a Large Lecture Hall”, Proceedings of the 2005 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2005.
  • Pieronek, C., L.H. McWilliams, S.E. Silliman, J.J. Uhran, M. Gunty, C. Graf, “Monolith or Mosaic: Using Demographics and Detailed Surveys to Understand the Many and Varied Dimensions of First-Year Female Engineering Students”, Proceedings of the 2005 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2005.
  • McWilliams, L.H., C. Pieronek, S.E. Silliman, C. Graf, M. Gunty, “Survey Results for Students in a First-Year Engineering Course”, Proceedings of the 2005 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2005.
  • Uhran, JJ, Jr., S.M. Batill, and S.E. Silliman, “A curriculum renovation revisited”, Proceedings of the 2005 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2005.
  • Nicholl, S.; Talley, J. W., and Silliman, S., “Model verification of TPD-MS for estimation of release energy values for PAHs on mineral sorbents.” J. of Env. Chem.& Tox. Vol. 23, No. 11, 203-208, 2004.
  • Berkowitz, B., S.E. Silliman and A.M. Dunn, “Impact of the capillary fringe on local flow, chemical migration, and microbiology”, Vadose Zone Journal, 3, 534-548, 2004.
  • Tyler, S., S. Silliman and M. Campana, “Undergraduate program focuses on international water issues in water resources”, EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 85(9), 89,92, 2004.
  • Silliman, S. and L. McWilliams, “Observations on Benefits/Limitations of an Audience Response System”, Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2004.
  • McWilliams, L., S. Silliman and C.L. Pieronek, “Modifications to a Freshman Engineering Course Based on Student Feedback”, Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference, American Society of Engineering Education, 2004.
  • Pieronek, C., L. McWilliams, and S. Silliman, “A Demographic Characterization of First-Year Engineering Students”, Proceedings of the 2004 Annual Conference, American Society  of Engineering Education, 2004.
  • Dunn, A., and S.E. Silliman, “Air and Water Entrapment in the Vicinity of the Water Table: A laboratory study on heterogeneous sands”, Ground Water, 41(6), 729-734, 2003.
  • Silliman, S.E., “Comparison of education models for increasing student exposure to engineering in developing countries”, Conference proceedings, the American Society of Engineering Education, 2003.
  • Pieronek, C., L. McWilliams, and S. Silliman, “Initial Observations on Student Retention and Course Satisfaction Based on First-Year Engineering Student Surveys and Interviews”, American Society of Engineering Education, Proceedings 2003 Annual Conference, 2003.
  • Silliman, S.E., B. Berkowitz, J. Simunek, and M. th. van Genuchten, “Fluid Flow and Chemical Migration Within the Capillary Fringe”, Ground Water, 40(1), 76-84, 2002.
  • Silliman, S.E., R. Dunlap, M. Fletcher and M.A. Schneegurt, “Bacterial transport in heterogeneous porous media: Observations from laboratory experiments”, Water Resources Research, 37(11), 2699-2708, 2001.
  • Silliman, S.E., “Laboratory study of chemical transport to wells within heterogeneous porous media”, Water Resources Research, 37(7), 1883-1892, 2001.
  • Silliman, S.E., and L. Zheng, “Comparison of observations from a laboratory model with stochastic theory: Initial analysis of hydraulic and tracer experiments”, Transport in Porous Media, 42(1/2), 85-107, 2001.
  • Cole, B.E., and S.E. Silliman, “Utility of simple models for capture zone delineation in heterogeneous unconfined aquifers”, Ground Water, 38(5), 665-672, 2000.
  • Silliman, S.E., and B. Berkowitz, “Sampling for the variogram within fractured media containing multiple fracture sets”, Mathematical Geology, 32(5), 543-560, 2000.
  • Zheng, L., and S.E. Silliman, “Estimating the variance and integral scale of the transmissivity field using head residual increments”, Water Resources Research, 36(5), 1353-1358, 2000.
  • Silliman, S.E. and G. Mantz, “The Effect of Measurement Error on Estimating the Hydraulic Gradient in Three-Dimensions”, Ground Water, 38(1), 114-120, 2000.
  • Berkowitz, B., H. Scher, and S. Silliman, “Anomalous transport in laboratory-scale, heterogeneous porous media”, Water Resources Research, 36(1), 149-158, 2000. {Correction appeared 36(5), 1371, 2000.}
  • Zheng. L. and S. Silliman, “Estimating the theoretical semivariogram from finite numbers of measurements”, Water Resources Research, 36(1), 361-367, 2000.
  • Silliman, S.E. and G. Mantz, “Incorporating data related uncertainty in the definition of wellhead capture zones”, in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Drinking Water Risk Assessment and Management, IAHS Publication No. 260, 53-56, 2000.
  • Silliman, S.E., and L. Ketchum, Jr., “Student involvement in water development / treatment in rural settings”, in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Drinking Water Risk Assessment and Management, IAHS Publication No. 260, 171-173, 2000.
  • Silliman, S.E., J. Fein, and P. Johnson, “Hydrogeology”, in “Research: From the Core to the Crust”, Geotimes, 44(7), 38-39, 1999.
  • Silliman, S.E., L. Zheng, and P. Conwell, “The use of laboratory experiments for the study of conservative solute transport in heterogeneous porous media”, Hydrogeology Journal, 6, 166- 177, 1998.
  • Silliman, S.E., and S. Caswell, “Observations of measured hydraulic conductivity in two artificial, confined aquifers with boundaries”, Water Resources Research, 34(9), 2203-2213, 1998.
  • Silliman, S.E., and C. Frost, “Monitoring of the hydraulic gradient using a three-point estimator”, Journal of Environmental Engineering, 124(6), 517-523, 1998.
  • Conwell, P.M., S.E. Silliman, and L. Zheng, “Design of a piezometer network for estimation of the variogram of the hydraulic gradient: The role of the instrument”, Water Resources Research, 33(11), 2489-2494, 1997.
  • Cole, B., and S. Silliman, “Capture zones for passive wells in heterogeneous unconfined aquifers”, Ground Water, 35(1), 1997.
  • Cole, B. and S. Silliman, “Estimating the horizontal gradient in heterogeneous, unconfined aquifers: Comparison of three-point schemes”, Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation, Spring, 84-91, 1996.
  • Silliman, S.E., “The importance of the third dimension on transport through saturated porous media: Case study based on transport of particles”,  Jour. of Hyd., 179, 181-196, 1996.
  • Silliman, S.E., “Sample support in a single fracture: Considering the definition and control of the support of a water sample”, Geophys. Res. Letters, 22(11), 1145-1147, 1995.
  • Silliman, S.E., J. Ramirez, and R.L. McCabe, “Quantifying downflow through creek sediments using temperature time series: One dimensional solution incorporating measured surface temperature”, Jour. of Hyd., 167, 99-119, 1995.
  • Silliman, S.E., “Particle transport through two-dimensional, saturated porous media: influence of physical structure of the medium”, Jour. of Hyd., 167, 79-98, 1995.
  • Silliman, S.E., C.C. Cady, and K. Snyder, “Application of a UV-Curing resin to hydrodynamic studies in porous media”, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., American Chemical Society, 33(8), 1997- 2001, 1994.
  • Dronfield, D., and S.E. Silliman, “Velocity dependence of dispersion for transport through a single fracture of variable roughness”, Water Resources Research, 29(10), 3477-3484, 1993.
  • Cady, C.C., S.E. Silliman, and E. Shaffern, “Variation in aperture estimate ratios from hydraulic and tracer tests in a single fracture”, Water Resources Research, 29(9), 2975-2982, 1993.
  • Silliman, S.E., and D.F. Booth, “Analysis of time-series measurements of sediment temperature for identification of gaining vs. losing portions of Juday Creek, Indiana”, Journal of Hydrology, 146, 131-148, 1993.
  • Robinson, R. S. Silliman, and C. Cady, “Identifying fracture interconnections between boreholes using natural temperature profiling: II. Application to a fractured dolomite”, The Log Analyst, 34(1), 69-77, 1993.
  • Preston, S.D., V.J. Bierman, Jr., and S.E. Silliman, “Impact of flow variability on error in the estimation of tributary mass loads”, ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering, 118(3), 402-419, 1992.
  • Silliman, S.E. and A.L. Wright, “Generation of random fields characterized by discrete regions of constant value”, Applied Mathematics and Computation, 45, 293-311, 1991.
  • Silliman, S.E., “The influence of grid geometry on structure present within discrete random fields”, Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 113, 171-191, 1990.
  • Silliman, S.E. and C.E. Neuzil, “Borehole determination of formation thermal conductivity using a thermal pulse from injected fluid”, Journal of Geophysical Research, 95 (86), 8697-8704, 1990.
  • Silliman, S. and D. Higgins, “An analytical solution for steady state flow between aquifers through an open well”, Ground Water, 28(2), 184-191, 1990.
  • Silliman, S.E., “An interpretation of the difference between aperture estimates derived from hydraulic and tracer tests in a single fracture”, Water Resources Research, 25(10), 2275- 2283, 1989.
  • Silliman, S.E. and R. Robinson, “Identifying fracture interconnections between boreholes using natural temperature profiling: I. Conceptual basis”, Groundwater, 27(3), 393-402, 1989.
  • Preston, S.D., V.J. Bierman, Jr. and S.E. Silliman, “An evaluation of methods for the estimation of tributary mass loads”, Water Resources Research, 25(6), 1379-1389, 1989.
  • Silliman, S.E. and A.L. Wright, “Stochastic analysis of high-permeability paths in the subsurface”, Water Resources Research, 24(11), 1901-1910, 1988.
  • Silliman, S.E. and R. Deuell, “Observations regarding comparison of hydraulic and chemical tracer tests”, Proceedings of the 4th Canadian/American Conference on Hydrogeology, Hitchon and Bachu (ed.), National Water Well Association, 1988.
  • Silliman, S.E., L. Konikow and C. Voss, “Laboratory investigation of longitudinal dispersion in anisotropic porous media”, Water Resources Research, 23(11), 2145-2151, 1987.
  • Silliman, S.E. and E.S. Simpson, “Laboratory evidence of the scale effect on solute transport”, Water Resources Res., 23(8), 1667-1673, 1987.
  • Hsieh, P.A., J.V. Tracy, C.E. Neuzil, J.D. Bredehoeft and S.E. Silliman, “A transient laboratory method for determining the hydraulic properties of ‘tight’ rocks -- I. Theory”, Int. Journal of Rock Mech. and Min. Sci. and Geomech., 18(3), 245-252, 1981.
  • Neuzil, C.E., C. Cooley, S.E. Silliman, J.D. Bredehoeft and P.A. Hsieh, “A transient laboratory method for determining the hydraulic properties of ‘tight’ rocks -- II. Applications”, Int. Journal of Rock Mech. and Min. Sci. and Geomech., 18(3), 253-258, 1981.