Durham School Distinguished Lecture

“Building a Sustainable and Inclusive Future: Effective Practices for Collaboration Between Industry and Academia in Construction”

Dr. Denise Simmons
Associate Dean for Workforce Development in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering 
University of Florida

Friday, April 21, 2023
12:00PM:  Boxed lunches available
12:15PM - 1:15 PM: Presentation
Peter Kiewit Institute Room 160 (Omaha), Nebraska Hall Room 175 (Lincoln), or Zoom

Please use the form below to RSVP for lunch or the Zoom link, preferably by Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

The construction industry plays a significant role in the global economy by generating employment opportunities and supporting critical infrastructure development. However, it faces several challenges, including a shortage of skilled workers, high turnover, an aging workforce, and a lack of diversity and inclusion. These challenges have significant implications for the industry's ability to sustain its growth and compete in a dynamic market. To address these challenges, industry leaders and college administrators must collaborate to develop strategies for enhancing workforce development and employability in construction. In this presentation, Dr. Simmons will share her pioneering contributions to construction workforce development research. She will translate her research into practical insights to help attendees gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the construction industry workforce and the importance of collaboration between industry and academia in addressing these challenges. Attendees will gain insights into effective practices and strategies for promoting health and well-being, agency, and inclusion, which are crucial for sustainable workforce development in construction.

Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., PE, PMP, LEED-AP, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering and Associate Dean for Workforce Development in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. She holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering (CE) and a graduate certificate in engineering education—all from Clemson University. She has over ten years of CE and construction experience working for energy companies and as a project management consultant. Her research interests include the interaction between humans and technology, the conceptualization of leadership in engineering, and the development of diverse and inclusive engineering teams and organizations. Simmons is a recipient of multiple awards and grants, including the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award and Clemson University’s Glenn Department of Civil Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award. 

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