Our research group explores the application of engineering technology throughout the world, and we are attuned to the global trend toward transcending political and physical boundaries. Using our evolving understanding of appropriate technology and place-based design, we strive to deliver innovative engineering capabilities and expertise to people both in modern industrialized cities and in tradition-centered remote villages, addressing the specific infrastructure needs of each. Our efforts place heavy emphasis on rural communities, which have become threatened by a global trend toward urban migration. The loss of farming communities in many societies can imperil the food security of nations without resources to import supplies from others. We believe that rural access to basic needs like water, electricity and roads will increase migration back to the breadbaskets of alternately developed countries, supporting self-sufficiency and improved physical mobility of all citizens dependent upon local foodstuffs.
At the same time, we reassert our dedication to engineering as an objective in itself, focusing on the unique responsibilities and challenges of technical design work, unburdened by characterizations of engineering as social development processes. This paradoxical unification of engineering with social sciences while deliberately separating technical problem-solving from other development responsibilities creates an entirely new way of pursuing technical solutions to engineering challenges around the world.
Join us in our effort to redefine engineering’s role in international infrastructure implementation and better equip our international engineers for work with societies that differ from their own!
Current Research Initiatives
- Rural Mental Health Contextualization; examining the availability of services, need for treatment, and impediments to service delivery for rural communities coping with increasing depression, anxiety, and stress. Research in partnership with Social Work faculty and Applied Research Institute Algorithm & Software scientists. Funding support from the University of Illinois Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences.
- Economic Impact to Rural Communities resulting from climate change; examining U.S. farming communities and how context governs decision-making in agriculture to affect community practices and economies. Research in partnership with Atmospheric Sciences and Agricultural & Consumer Economics faculty, and Applied Research Institute Algorithm & Software scientists at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana; and Economics and Management, Marketing & Operations faculty from University of Illinois Springfield.
- Contextual Examination of National Service Organization; examining the foundational objectives, organizational dynamics, and performance impediments from both the top-down structure and bottom-up experience for a large service organization supporting undergraduate learning and entrepreneurship.