PROFESSIONALS IN EDUCATION
uccessful in their professional endeavors, these four adjunct faculty members now are helping to develop the next generation of engineers. Through teaching and mentoring, they share knowledge and experiences with our students and provide valuable perspective on how engineers interact with others to shape our world.
Like many alumni, I hold a special place in my heart for the UW and know that my career success was in large part due to my experience there as a student,” says Norman Doll, who earned his bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1977.
Retired president of Pieper Electric Co., Doll lives in Mequon, Wisconsin. He says he enjoys the opportunity to give back to the university and share the many things he learned throughout his professional career.
He co-advises the UW-Madison Engineers Without Borders student chapter and has traveled with members of the group to El Salvador, where they began construction of a gravity-based wastewater system that links two small communities to the sewer system in a larger nearby city. He lectures in CEE 498, Construction Project Management, and teaches the CEE 698 special topics course Leadership Development. In addition, he also lectures in a variety of courses offered through the Department of Engineering Professional Development.
After having been away from UW-Madison for nearly 30 years, Doll can list many reasons—related to his students’ education, as well as his own—why it’s great to be back. “Some of the many things I enjoy and appreciate about my role at the university are the association with the students who will be our future leaders, the consequential learning that takes place because of my association with the professors and colleagues I work with, and access to the many things going on around the engineering campus—particularly the many lectures,” he says.
For nearly a decade, Kirk Keller has shared his talents and experiences in myriad ways with civil and environmental engineering students. An architect by training, Keller is partner and co-owner of Bouril Design Studio in Madison.
He has judged students’ final presentations for the undergraduate capstone course and has served as a team mentor. For seven years, he has delivered a short lecture series that focuses on how best to develop concepts and ideas, as well as how to present those ideas verbally and graphically.
Recently, Keller joined the department as an adjunct professor, a position he says has broadened the ways in which he can contribute to the department. “This position has allowed me to add to my involvement by working with new mentors and developing projects for mentors to use with the student teams,” he says. “I hope to further my involvement with the department with providing input for some possible future course offerings.”
That ability to help shape student learning and knowledge is what motivates Keller to stay involved in the department. “Each generation of engineering or architectural professionals must communicate to the next to assure continuity and progress for the profession,” he says.
That continuity has come full-circle: Keller often bumps into former students who tell him they’ve saved his lecture notes—sometimes because they liked the content, but more often, because the information truly was relevant to their career. Those alumni have become colleagues and Keller still serves as a resource for them. “The newest addition to what I enjoy about working with the department is now encountering and working with graduates working in the area’s construction and consulting engineering firms,” he says.
John Nelson teaches or lectures in courses through two College of Engineering departments, the Wisconsin School of Business, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Yet, he feels he’s acquiring as much knowledge as he’s imparting to his students. “I do have opportunities to interact with students in other colleges, and in order to be prepared for that, it’s important to do your homework,” he says. “And in the process of doing your homework, there’s a pretty broad exposure here. Plus, there’s access to resources here that is far beyond anything I’ve had experience with.”
Former president and CEO of Affiliated Engineers Inc., Nelson now is an engineering consultant. Since 2005, he has devoted about half his time to teaching and research at UW-Madison—in part, he says, in gratitude for the education he received as a master’s student in mechanical engineering.
Based on his experiences as a practicing engineer, Nelson introduces civil and environmental engineering students to new trends in engineering and in the construction industry. One of those new ways of thinking is based on lean manufacturing or production, a concept rooted in Toyota’s focus on reducing waste and improving customer value.“Construction hasn’t done this yet,” he says. “The opportunity is bigger and the need is more acute in construction.”
Nelson empasizes to his students that not only are they problem-solvers, they can play a role in identifying grand challenges, such as those related to energy and sustainability, both of which he is passionate about.
For example, he says, historical data show that more than half of U.S. total energy use occurs through buildings and transportation systems. “Civil engineers design and build buildings and transportation systems,” he says. “So they touch an enormous amount of decisions that involve energy. And while one thing civil engineers are good at is solving problems that others have defined, one thing civil engineers don’t do really well is challenging whether that’s the right problem to solve. What I try to help students understand, for example, is rather than just find the perfect way to build the building, maybe you should participate in the discussion about whether or not that building should be built.”
Through his teaching and mentorship, Nelson aims to help prepare engineering students to be more effective, thoughtful practicing engineers. However, he doesn’t discount their contributions to the discussion. “They’re almost all smarter than me—some a lot smarter than me,” he says. “I enjoy having my brain stretched by them, and I enjoy the optimism and energy with which they approach life.”
“I have always been an advocate of a collaborativeand cooperative team approach to design and construction, working closely with many different engineering disciplines,” says Charles Quagliana. A preservation architect, Quagliana began mentoring students in the senior capstone design course in 2008 and today is an adjunct professor and one-third-time instructor. His students benefit from his 28 years of experience on projects ranging from the Wisconsin State Capitol restoration to the current biochemistry complex on Henry Mall, across University Avenue from the engineering campus.
Quagliana co-teaches the fall 2009 capstone design course with fellow Adjunct Professor Michael Doran. He also teaches CEE 698, Architectural Design for Construction, in which his students designed a restaurant for a site at the corner of Park and Regent Streets in Madison.
In these and other courses, collaboration is a common theme and students benefit from a reinvigorated relationship Quagliana helped facilitate between CEE and the UW-Madison Facilities Planning and Management team, which oversees all campus construction projects.
Under Quagliana, students have developed, refined and proposed designs for the UW-Madison Water Sciences Building renovation project, both independently and in partnership with UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture students. Students from the two schools worked together on base drawings for an initiative to restore and transform the UW-Madison horse barn into an outreach center for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Other projects include a new UW-Madison art school and a boat transfer station on the Fox River near Appleton.
Quagliana says he invests time and effort at UW-Madison because he believes it is his role as a professional to contribute to current students’ education. In particular, he says, the capstone class provides a platform for his efforts. “One of the unique aspects of this class is the cross-curricular collaboration with students in other disciplines,” he says. “Through synergistic projects, students from different campuses and different educational experiences work collaboratively and collectively, from project inception through completion. This includes students from the fields of engineering, architecture and landscape architecture, providing additional real-world exposure in and out of the classroom. I believe this is extremely valuable in preparing students for life beyond the classroom.”.