This paper describes a series of investigations on the effect of fiber reinforcement on the response of structural members in direct tension and flexure under reversed cyclic loading conditions. The design approach of the fiber reinforced cementitious composite is based on fracture mechanics principles, which will be described in the first part of the paper along with an introduction of the relevant material properties of the resulting engineered cementitious composite (ECC). This class of composites is characterized by strain hardening and multiple cracking properties in uniaxial tension and an ultimate tensile strain capacity on the order of several percent. Subsequently, the synergistic effects of composite deformation mechanisms in the ECC and structural members subjected to large shear reversals are identified. Beneficial effects observed in the reinforced ECC structural members as compared to conventional reinforced concrete include improved composite integrity, energy dissipation, ductility, and damage tolerance.