UW Today

July 6, 2011

Construction management professors win grant for new ways to teach

Five professors in the Department of Construction Management have won an HP Catalyst Award that will mean real-time collaborations between UW students and their counterparts at universities elsewhere in the world.

The $150,000 grant is part of the HP Catalyst Initiative, a global program to improve science, technology, engineering and math education. The initiative includes six global consortia, each focusing on a different aspect of such education – for instance, technology to measure learning. The UW team is now part of the Global Collaboratories consortium that includes schools in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa.

The consortium is an outgrowth of the HP/UNESCO Brain Gain Initiative, which helps developing nations retain highly educated citizens who would otherwise leave for better opportunities. The consortium also enables students from different nations work together on social problems and broaden their understanding of the global work market, said Giovanni Migliaccio, an assistant professor of construction management and leader of the UW award group.

Recent UW construction management graduates have worked on wind farms in Oklahoma, water and road infrastructures in the Southwest, and school projects in Zambia.

Migliaccios students will use HP tablets and touchscreen netbooks to work in an HP Virtual Room with students at Coventry University in Coventry, England. They will analyze various risks in construction and learn country-specific perspectives on risk management.

Students of Ken-Yu Lin, another assistant professor in construction management, will use touch screen net books to experiment with unsafe construction situations. Other professors who will use HP equipment in their classroom include associate professors Carrie Dossick and Ahmed Aziz and Assistant Professor Omar El-Anwar.”

Since 2010, HP has invested more than $10 million in the Catalyst Initiative and is working with more than 55 educational institutions in 15 countries.