During the summer and fall, faculty in the College’s Civil Engineering Program have applied their scholarship and teaching to benefit students and their educational institutions in Africa and Asia. Dr. Mbaki Onyango was awarded a Fellowship from the Carnegie African Diaspora Program which supports educational projects at African higher education institutions. Through her work with Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology in her native Tanzania, Dr. Onyango was able to teach graduate courses in technical subject areas in civil and infrastructure engineering, while also offering her expertise to communities in that country through the application of her research on the use of discarded rice husks as a building material.
In commenting on this opportunity to partner with Masinde Muliro University, Dr. Onyango said, “It is not a secret that the rapid growth in the number of African universities in the last decade has made it extremely difficult for these schools to attract and hire qualified personnel. It is important to note that even the old universities and government-owned new ones are struggling to fill the ranks of their faculty with well qualified Ph.D. holders. So, the problem cuts across the board. Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology, my host institution, falls among the relatively new government universities going through the growing pains of establishing a robust teaching and research faculty. My project was designed to help Masinde Muliro as it struggles to fulfill its three-fold mission: teaching/capacity building; degree/curriculum development; and research.”
In recent years, Drs. Weidong Wu, Ignatius Fomunung, and Joe Owino of the Civil Engineering faculty have worked with the University administration to partner with Changsha University of Science and Technology to offer a 3 + 1 degree program in civil engineering. During the summer period, Drs. Fomunung and Owino traveled to China to teach students at Changsha who aspire to complete their degree by enrolling at UTC for their senior year. The initial implementation of the program will bring 50 Changsha students to live on campus while taking coursework in all areas of the civil engineering discipline.
Changsha University of Science and Technology, located in China’s Hunan Province, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary with Civil and Chemical Engineering Department Head Dr. Joe Owino in attendance. In congratulating the faculty and administration of Changsha on that occasion, Dr. Owino said, “ UT Chattanooga commends all at Changsha University on six decades of outstanding instruction in science and technology. My colleagues and I value our partnership with you and look forward to our future academic endeavors together. With nearly 200,000 graduates in fields ranging from transportation to power and hydrological industries, Changsha has a positive impact on social and economic development across the nation and beyond. Changsha’s global impact through cooperative endeavors with educational institutions in countries in Europe, the United Kingdom, North America as well as the Far East, is exemplary and deserving of recognition. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is honored to be one of your educational partners.“