Dr. Rafi Tarefder is Professor of Civil Engineering and Regents' Lecturer at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He also serves as Associate Director of two federally funded transportation centers: Southern Plain Transportation Center (SPTC), and Safety and Operations of Large-Area Rural/Urban Intermodal Systems (SOLARIS). SPTC is a regional transportation center that focuses on transportation infrastructure health and functionality under climate change and extreme weather events. SOLARIS focuses on transportation safety including transportation infrastructure design and renewal in the vast rural area of the southwest. Dr. Tarefder is co-chair of the Annual Paving and Transportation conference, which is the biggest in the southwest having an attendance of more than 500 participants.
Dr. Tarefder's work covers a wide spectrum, from applied and design-focused to theoretical research principally in the area of pavement materials and design. He has been leading fundamental studies of integrated nano- and molecular- characterization and modeling of asphalt binder to understand the link between asphalt molecular structure and mechanical behavior of asphalt pavements. His scholarly contributions include laboratory studies, development of mechanistic pavement design guide and life-cycle models, field instrumentation, innovations in pavement preservation technologies and perpetual pavements, and engineering of pavement materials that enhance durability and functional performance.
Dr Tarefder has received several awards for his scholarship including the prestigious NSF CAREER award, which dealt with moisture interactions with asphalt-aggregate bonds at the nanoscale level. He was also recipient of the Junior Faculty Research Excellence Award from the School of Engineering in recognition of his substantial research contributions. Recently, he has received the title of Regents' Lecturer at UNM and Stamm Outstanding Faculty in the department of Civil Engineering. He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, 14 book chapters and special issues, and 104 refereed conference papers.
Dr. Tarefder is the Editor-in-Chief of journal of Advances in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Associate Editor of the ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering. He is the lead editor of IACMAG Newsletter, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of Pavements. He organized a US-China workshop on sustainable pavements sponsored by NSF. He also co-organized the national symposium on pavements and materials in Los Angeles. He has been very active in national committees related to his research interests, serving on three committees of the Transportation Research Board, ASCE, and ASTM. He has served as a reviewer for several journals and panelist for NSF several times.
Dr. Tarefder has a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He obtained his M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He is a licensed professional engineer. Prior to joining UNM, Dr. Tarefder was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Idaho State University and also at Texas Southern University for three years. What is particularly noteworthy is that until Dr. Tarefder's arrival in 2006, UNM did not have a graduate program or research activities involving pavement materials and design. Essentially from scratch, Dr. Tarefder has developed a pavement engineering program, which has made significant positive impacts in fulfilling the laboratory education and research missions of UNM's civil engineering.