Clemson to exchange Ph.D. candidates with China’s top civil engineering program

Andrew Brownlow’s doctoral research in civil engineering is about maintaining subway tunnels. Because of a new exchange program between Clemson and China’s top engineering program, the Ph.D. student from Aiken was able to travel to Shanghai, home to the world’s longest subway system.
“They have great opportunities to do research,” Brownlow said. “I made some good partnerships and had an opportunity to do some networking in one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.”
Clemson and Tongji universities will exchange civil engineering doctoral students as part of a global partnership that underscores the importance of cooperation in solving some of the world’s toughest engineering challenges.
Students who participate will be eligible for dual degrees from both universities. The agreement marks the first dual Ph.D. program in civil engineering that Tongji has signed with a U.S. university. Tongji is ranked No. 1 in civil engineering by China’s Ministry of Education. Students who seek dual degrees will remain abroad for about two years.
But students needn’t seek a degree to participate in the exchange. As part of a previous memorandum of under-standing, they can also travel to do research for about two months at a time. “The partnership is an important part of increasing the college’s and the department’s global impact and visibility,” said James Martin, chair of Clemson’s Glenn Department of Civil Engineering. “This is what preeminent departments do. They partner with other preeminent departments.”
Clemson students who study at Tongji will be immersed in the culture and language of a rapidly growing nation that has enormous civil engineering needs, ranging from roads, tunnels and bridges to earthquake-resistant buildings.
“China is the second largest economy in the world and still growing at a fast pace,” said Hsein Juang, the Glenn Professor of Civil Engineering at Clemson. “There will be a lot of opportunities for engineering firms and private consultants to offer their services to the Chinese government and civil engineering industry in the coming decades.
“Having a second Ph.D. degree at Tongji will be a big plus for Clemson students working for companies that provide engineering and business services in China.”

Artist installs “Early Hatch” at CU-ICAR

Professor Joey Manson and visual arts major David Lamm installing Manson's sculpture.

Professor Joey Manson and visual arts major David Lamm installing Manson’s sculpture.

There’s a new sculpture installation on the grounds of CU-ICAR, thanks to art professor Joey Manson. At the invitation of CU-ICAR, Manson and visual arts major David Lamm installed Manson’s sculpture, “Early Hatch,” in February. Manson, who works with industrial material, found a complementary home for his work, which he describes as “an exploration of our built, social and environmental constructs.”
“Early Hatch,” created from concrete and steel, captures one point in a cycle, according to Manson. “Larva emerges from an egg in order to collect the resources necessary to close the circle by building a cocoon, emerging as a moth and finally laying new eggs. The form of the concrete base refers to the eggs and the circular curling form is the larva. The vertical figurative elements are disruptions in this cycle.”

Manson spent many years working in New York City for museums, galleries and artists before teaching at Clemson. As part of his senior seminar class, Manson guides students through an intense four-day trip to NYC, exposing them to present and past visual artists.
Manson’s sculpture at CU-ICAR is only his latest campus collaboration. He co-teaches the Atelier InSite class focusing on public art on campus, including the installation at the Life Sciences building. His work can be seen outside of Sirrine Hall and inside the Strom Thurmond Institute.

Q&A: Joey Manson

Where are the top 3 to 5 places where you’ve had or currently have work?
Manson: Chicago is a city that is very supportive of the arts and sculpture in particular. I’ve shown sculptures in six public art exhibitions hosted by Chicago in the last three years. I’ve also shown in Stamford CT, San Angelo TX, and Ames IA, in the past year. Commission work supports my studio practice and I’ve installed permanently sited works in Skokie IL and Chattanooga TN in the past two years. Tell me about the partnership with CU ICAR. What’s the history?
How did it come about?
Manson: I began a partnership with ICAR with the Art Department’s foundations course which I teach. We sited different cardboard sculptures the foundations students created throughout the interior of ICAR for several years running. We also received a BMW car chassis which we had the foundations class collectively design and paint the exterior of in the spirit of BMW’s well known Art Cars. This chassis was exhibit in front of Lee hall for some time.
Will art students be a part of the installation? If so, why is it important for them participate? What will they learn?
Manson: There’s at least one student I may ask if the’d like to be involved in the install. Participation in exhibition installations is an important learning experience for students who will be showing their own work as professional artists upon graduation.
Tell me about the math, physics, science or engineering elements that play into making/installing the sculpture.
Manson: “Early Hatch”began as simple sketches, however to work out specific details final drawing were produced in CAD. The engineering problems involved in building this sculpture are not terribly complex. It is the questions related to the industrial and environmental themes of the sculpture itself and how the viewer relates are more important.
Tell me about the sculpture. What inspired you to create it. Why is it significant to the CU ICAR location?
Manson: Automotive Technology has a tremendous impact on the environment, my studio efforts looks to both industrial and environmental interests, and I utilize industrial construction methods to create my work.
What have you done to promote visual arts and sculpture at Clemson?
Manson: Atelier InSite, a creative inquiry course focusing on the implementation of Public Art at Clemson University, is a course I co-teach with Dave Detrich and Denise Detrich. This course is about promoting visual arts within our community at Clemson.
Joey’s on-campus sculpture outside of Sirrine

Q&A: Catherine Mobley

CW: What do you enjoy most about your job? Or what’s the most satisfying thing about your job?
Mobley: There’s so much that I enjoy about my career, but perhaps my favorite part is that I am constantly learning something new. No day is ever the same as I am continually challenged to apply sociology in new ways in a diversity of contexts – in the classroom, in my research, both within the field and across other fields in my interdisciplinary research. I especially enjoy engaging in interdisciplinary research and teaching. While I have engaged in independent research, I have had the opportunity to engage in empirical research with colleagues from other discipline across campuss. According to Ernest Boyer’s definition of the “scholarship of integration,” interdisciplinary research consists of making connections across disciplines in order to advance understanding of complex scientific questions and social issues. Indeed, the “lone ranger” concept is rarely effective for investigating the issues that are central to my research efforts. Funding agencies are increasingly recognizing the value of interdisciplinary research and teaching. These efforts also support the recent call on the part of my college and university to increase interdisciplinary research. These research collaborations are beneficial and interesting to me both personally and professionally. I enjoy working with my colleagues to develop and implement creative approaches to challenges that would not otherwise emerge if I was working in isolation. Indeed, I am finding that the most innovative research often emerges at the interface of disciplines. Across campus, I think I am known to be a reliable collaborator who makes substantial contributions to projects and adds value to research teams through my expertise in sociological theory and methods. Together, we have applied for multiple research grants and co-authored research presentations and manuscripts. I have truly enjoyed these experiences!
CW: How do you balance teaching and research?
Mobley: I view both as inevitably intertwined with one another. For example, as I work on my research I am always seeking opportunities to enrich my teaching. And, students often raise questions in the classroom that inspire my research.
CW: Give me a brief description of your research. What piqued your interest in that area (s)?
Mobley: At the current time, my two main areas of research are in the area of environmental sustainability and engineering education. The two topics often overlap with one another, depending on the particular research effort. I have long been personally interested in environmental issues and feel lucky to be able to pursue my personal interests through the lens of the sociological perspective. I’ve been able to explore a vast variety of topics related to environmental sustainability, including human behavior as it pertains to water quality and water quantity, college student perceptions of environmental issues, the influence of formative experiences on the development of environmental concern, and public perception of a variety of sustainability related topics. For the past decade or so, I have been involved with an extensive research project related to engineering education, the MIDFIELD project. This project, headed up by Matt Ohland (formerly at Clemson University and now at Purdue University) involves a study of the academic experiences and pathways of engineering majors from 12 institutions. One part of the research team analyzes a longitudinal database of over a million student records from the 12 MIDFIELD institutions. I have been involved in the qualitative portion of the project, investigating a variety of research questions through focus groups and interviews with engineering transfer students. The most recent qualitative project focused on engineering transfer students and in Fall 2014, my colleagues and I received a NSF grant to investigate the experiences of student veterans at four institutions (University of San Diego, Clemson University, Purdue University, North Carolina State University). I also collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines, such as hydrogeology, to learn more about engineering education.
CW: What does this award mean to you…being chosen by your peers?
Mobley: I am so honored to be receiving this award, especially knowing it is coming from my peers. I’ve been walking by the Carillon Bell monument for nearly 20 years now, in awe of the people whose names are inscribed there. It means so much to me, especially knowing there were so many qualified candidates for the award. Recently, I was talking to a recipient of the Class of ’39 award and learned that one of the purposes of the award is to inspire faculty to do their bes,t and to go above and beyond expectations. This recognition has definitely inspired me! Little did I know when I was attending Clemson University in the early 1980’s that I’d be here 30 years later, pursuing the career of my dreams!