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Engineering Professional Development

Howard Rosen

Associate faculty associate Howard Rosen at the Wisconsin State Capitol (18K JPG)

Rainwater carrying sediment

A close-up of rainwater carrying sediment away from a construction site (24K JPG)

Right as rain: Courses bring clarity to murky storm-water issues

With continued development vastly increasing the amount of paved, compacted or otherwise impervious land, storm-water runoff and flooding have become serious issues in many communities.

In addition, the depletion of underground water supplies has placed a premium on both the quantity and quality of storm water. As awareness of these issues increases, so do public expectations of storm-sewer drainage systems. Property owners expect protection from flood damage, regulators expect storm-sewer systems to reduce the impact of pollution and taxpayers expect the lowest cost system that meets all engineering requirements.

Associate Faculty Associate Howard Rosen has had a longstanding interest in storm-water management and flood control. For two years, he served as the only non-federal-agency member of the Infrastructure Working Group of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Rosen offers a series of storm-water-related continuing education short courses attended by hundreds of professional engineers each year. These courses are focused on providing practitioners with tools and methods to help them in the hydraulic design process. Instructors have included Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professors John Hoopes and Peter L. Monkmeyer, and other nationally recognized engineers such as Ronald L. Rossmiller.

Rosen's current courses include Storm Sewer System Design, Storm Water Detention Basin Design, Open Channel Design, Comprehensive Culvert Design, Using HEC-RAS to Compute Water Surface Profiles for Floodplains, Bridge and Culvert Hydraulics and Using HEC-RAS to Model Unsteady Flow.

Mastering master's education

"This isn't a peephole into a traditional classroom. This is an Internet-based environment where experienced engineers learn from each other and the instructor. The format is highly interactive and flexible to travel, work schedules and relocation," says Wayne Pferdehirt, director for the Master of Engineering in Professional Practice (MEPP).

Most online programs offer electronic access to an on-campus course with content designed for students with little or no professional experience. MEPP does it differently. All courses are designed for experienced, practicing engineers. Courses are problem-based with immediate application to responsibilities of engineers. Because MEPP uses the Internet, there’s no need to attend sessions on campus or at a videoconferencing facility. Students successfully complete their studies despite demanding schedules, worldwide travel and relocation.

The program has received several major national and international awards that consistently point to MEPP’s excellence of curriculum, quality of instruction and student success. Building on instructional methods honed through MEPP, faculty from the college's Engine Research Center and Powertrain Control Research Laboratory teamed up to develop MEES, the Master of Engineering in Engine Systems. The MEES, program is a unique opportunity to integrate knowledge from thermal sciences, design and mechanics, electronics and control, applications, service and manufacturing — all required in the development of a new internal combustion engine. MEES connects leading engine research faculty at UW-Madison with practicing engineers located anywhere, through a highly collaborative learning environment.

Investigating the limits of power

The Aug. 14, 2003, Northeast blackout received widespread attention in the media, followed by the requisite finger-pointing and blame-assessment. But in fact, it was not the largest 2003 blackout when measured by the number of customers affected. That "honor" belongs to the 2003 Italian blackout in which the entire country of 57 million people lost power. Denmark and Sweden suffered blackouts at nearly the same time.

In response, the International Institute for Critical Infrastructures (CRIS), Lund University (Sweden), and EPD Professor Emeritus Willis Long organized the International Workshop on Power System Blackouts, held May 3-5, 2004, in Lund, Sweden. Forty invited attendees from 13 countries participated in workshops and technical sessions exploring case studies of recent blackouts, the role of operators in blackouts, the role of protection systems in cascading blackouts, analysis of wide-area disturbances, and countermeasures.

Of particular interest was the problem of system restoration following a blackout. Putting the pieces back together is a difficult and time-consuming task. Not unlike assembling a house of cards, one misstep and the system can come tumbling down again.

Conference-goers also learned of a wide-area measurement system in use during a major fault in Southeast Mexico. Using GPS-synchronized measurements, the state of the system could be viewed from diferent locations, revealing the evolution of the fault through-out the system. Researchers continue to work on implementing this monitoring technique to provide system operators with a new tool for anticipating and reacting to disturbances.

EPD will offer the three-day course entitled "Wide-Area Measurements in Power Systems: Monitoring, Protection and Control" during 2004. This course is one of more than 40 electric power courses offered annually by EPD to electrical/utility professionals nationwide.


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Copyright 2004 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Date last modified: Thursday, 17-Feb-2005 14:09:29 CST
Date created: 17-Feb-2005