Posts By: Phill Snel

UPDATED: 12 ways U of T is preparing for a safe return to in-person instruction

Download a transcript of the infographic

The University of Toronto is closely monitoring the latest public health guidance as it prepares to welcome students, faculty, staff and librarians back to campus this fall.

Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities recently sent a memo to post-secondary institutions expressing its support for a safe return to in-person learning in alignment with the latest evidence. Further guidance is expected from the province in early August, which U of T will follow in conjunction from guidance from local public health authorities.

“U of T is encouraged by the uptake of vaccinations in Ontario and welcomes the provincial government’s support for efforts to plan a safe return to campus this fall,” said Professor Salvatore Spadafora, a special adviser to U of T’s president on COVID-19 and senior adviser to the dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

“We are looking forward to resuming in-person learning, campus activities and other experiences in keeping with the latest public health guidance.”

At U of T, planning is already well underway for a safe resumption of in-person classes, with faculties and divisions tailoring their individual plans to meet their unique needs. Residences, meanwhile, are requiring students to be vaccinated in an effort to provide a safe, welcoming and enjoyable experience that is conducive to learning and community-building.

Several other precautions have been taken across the three campuses to curb the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Building ventilation systems are being inspected, air filters have been upgraded where necessary and air purifiers are being added to classrooms as needed. Everyone coming to campus will be required to complete a self-reported health screening and wear face masks indoors.

U of T also continues to work with local public health units to promote vaccine information and has hosted vaccination clinics on its three campuses.

Here are 12 ways U of T is planning for a safe return of in-person instruction this fall:


1. UCheck health screening

Before visiting campus, everyone – students, faculty, staff, librarians, researchers and even contractors – must complete a health screening. The easiest way to do this is by using the university’s online self-assessment tool, UCheck. A paper-based process is also available.

The UCheck questionnaire has been updated to reflect the latest public health guidance, takes just a few minutes to complete and can be accessed via smartphone, tablet or desktop. Submitted data is encrypted in transit and storage to protect users’ privacy.

2. Scheduling changes and capacity limits

Across the university, faculties and divisions are working on plans tailored to meet their individual needs.

“Everyone is committed to providing the rich academic and campus experience for which U of T is known – and it’s unlikely there will be a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Ron Saporta, chief operating officer, property services and sustainability.

“We are reviewing our strategy on a regular basis and will be taking into account any changes to public health guidelines.”

With capacity restrictions being relaxed across the province, U of T anticipates that such limits will be lifted for educational spaces by this fall and will continue to monitor public health directions – making updates to its plans when appropriate.

3. Physical distancing measures

Saporta said U of T is preparing for a variety of scenarios, including the possibility physical distancing may no longer be required indoors this fall – so long as masks are worn.

“We will be able to adapt quickly using an evidence-informed approach that adheres to evolving guidelines and, most importantly, seeks to keep our community safe,” he said.

In the meantime, the university has taken steps to re-orient traffic flow in buildings by posting signage and rearranging furniture and other features to help people maintain a distance from one another if required.

4. Non-medical face masks

The university’s policy requiring non-medical masks to be worn in all indoor spaces will remain in effect in accordance with evolving public health guidelines. U of T’s mask policy and allowable exclusions, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about masks, can all be found on the UTogether site and Chapter 6 of the General Workplace Guideline (GWG).

Health Canada and Toronto Public Health now recommend wearing a well-fitted mask with at least two layers of tightly woven fabric, such as cotton, plus a third middle layer of filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene.

5. Enhanced cleaning and more sanitizing stations

The university has installed thousands of touchless hand sanitizing stations and sanitizing wipe dispensers across the three campuses. U of T has also ramped up cleaning of common-use areas such as classrooms, libraries, washrooms and lobbies.

Staff frequently wipe down and disinfect high-touch surfaces like door handles, handrails and elevator buttons.

6. Industry-leading classroom ventilation targets

 

Wall-mounted air purifier in a classroom

(Photo by Johnny Guatto)

Classrooms that will be used for in-person teaching across the three campuses will be equipped for six equivalent air changes per hour, the same standard applied to patient examination rooms, walk-in clinics and other health-care settings.

U of T consulted outside experts in adopting its ventilation standard.

“In the context of the pandemic, we’ve been on top of recommended COVID-19 ventilation safety measures,” said Jelena Vulovic-Basic, a senior manager, operations and maintenance at U of T Facilities & Services.

7. Upgrading building ventilation and air filtration

The university continues to upgrade and monitor heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment where necessary as part of its HVAC strategy. That includes monitoring and maintaining upgraded air filters that capture a greater percentage of smaller particles and outfitting some classrooms with a local air filtration device with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

All building ventilation systems at U of T will continue to undergo regular maintenance to ensure air is clean and flowing into and out of buildings properly.

As an additional measure, the university plans to flush air from enclosed spaces prior to occupancy.

“We turn on the ventilation system two hours before anyone walks through the door, filling the building with clean air,” Saporta said.

8. Contact tracing through QR codes

As part of a voluntary pilot project, people entering some buildings will see posters encouraging them to use UCheck to scan a QR code located at the entrances. The scans will help with contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“If we have an issue, Occupational Health Services can notify people directly about a potential exposure,” said Cathy Eberts, U of T’s director, enterprise applications and deputy chief information officer.

“It’s all through UCheck, so your information is encrypted and only accessible by our occupational health nurse if we need to do contract tracing.

9. Monitoring wastewater in large residences

A pilot project is underway at U of T to monitor sewage for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Some municipalities, including Ottawa, have been using this method to detect the virus – often before those who are infected realize they are sick.

At U of T, the plan is to monitor wastewater from residences that house about 100 people or more – and could be expanded in the future.

“The approach here – which was successfully tested during a pilot earlier this year – is we monitor building wastewater for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, and if we find it then we implement our outbreak prevention protocol,” Saporta said.

10. Rapid screening for some essential roles

The university is also piloting rapid antigen testing for U of T staff whose role requires frequent face-to-face interaction with the public, such as those working in dentistry and health and wellness.

The screening program was developed by the Creative Destruction Lab – a business accelerator affiliated with the Rotman School of Management – and has been used by the likes of Air Canada and Scotiabank.

The BD Veritor System uses nasal swabs to detect SARS-CoV-2.

The test, which returns a result in as little as 15 minutes, can accurately identify the presence of the coronavirus roughly 85 per cent of the time and can accurately eliminate those who are not infected nearly 100 per cent of the time. Those who test positive will be referred for further testing.

The pilot will expand to include more U of T community members in the fall. Rapid testing will also be used in connection with the wastewater monitoring initiative.

11. Department-specific COVID-19 guidelines and tools

Rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach, U of T is asking each department to adapt the university’s – and indeed broader public health guidelines – to its own specific circumstances.

“It’s important to contextualize general guidelines to the space where you work,” said Gina Trubiani, U of T’s director, occupational health and safety.

“This allows for a nimbler, more flexible response so departments can apply the general guidelines based on their circumstances.”

More information on department-specific COVID-19 guidelines and tools can be found on the Human Resources & Equity webpage on returning to campus, as well as the Environmental Health & Safety COVID-19 information webpage.

12. Supporting Ontario’s vaccination drive

 

overhead view of the vaccination clinic at UTM

 

 

(Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

U of T is encouraging all members of the U of T community to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

It has also supported the province’s vaccination efforts by supplying space and volunteers. That has included hosting a vaccine clinic at U of T Mississauga that was run by Trillium Health Partners and Peel Public Health, a clinic on the St. George campus operated by the University Health Network with participation from Sinai Health and a pop-up clinic at U of T Scarborough that’s operated in collaboration with Scarborough Health Network.

The university has also hosted a vaccine clinic pow wow in June and pop-up clinics on the St. George campus to provide Indigenous Peoples with a culturally safe place to receive their vaccinations.

So far, more than 400,000 doses have been administered at the U of T-hosted sites, which have followed the province’s vaccine priority schedule and ethical guidelines.

“Our main goal is to do what we can to partner with our hospitals and public health to serve our communities,” said Spadafora. “We recognize the important role U of T can play to encourage vaccination across the university and broader community.”

As for the entire 12-step plan, Spadafora said it will evolve with the science and the public health regulations of the day – and as case counts fall and vaccinations increase.

“The university will continue to monitor the effectiveness of these programs, as well as scientific evidence and best practices, and will adapt this program as warranted.”

Visit UTogether for the latest updates

 

 

This story originally published by U of T News


Consumer pumps not the worst of Delhi’s water woes

First neighbourhood-scale study of home water pumps shows that they decrease water pressure moderately, but have minimal effect on average water quality 

 

With utilities in countries such as India running water infrastructure intermittently to minimize water lost to leaky pipes, many residents use pumps to draw as much water as they can when it is available (photo by Noah Seelam/AFP via Getty Images)

Household water pumps are a quirky feature of many urban water systems around the world. Utility operators hate them, and in many places they have been made illegal, yet their use remains widespread. A new study authored by Professor David Meyer (CivMin, CGEN) looks at how these pumps affect water quality — and it contains some surprises. 

“Because the use of these pumps is often illegal, they haven’t been well studied,” says Meyer. “But this is not a problem that’s going away. I estimate that there are probably 250 million people around the world that drink water that is pulled out of water pipe systems by these pumps.” 

In North America, household water pumps are typically only used by people who get their water from wells or from a nearby lake or stream. By contrast, city dwellers rely on their public utilities to deliver water under high enough pressure so that when they open the tap, the water flows. 

But in many places around the world, that’s not the case. Meyer (né Taylor) and his team study intermittent water systems, which are turned on and off several times throughout the day or week. 

While this type of operation can minimize the amount of water that is lost to leaky pipes, it also creates an incentive for customers to extract as much water as they can while it is available. 

“It’s a bit like an arms race,” says Meyer. “If the water delivered to you is at low pressure and comes out slowly, a pump connected directly to the city’s system will pull the water out faster. But that lowers the pressure for everyone else around you, which drives them to buy pumps too.” 

The study, recently published in Water Research X, was carried out in Delhi, India. Meyer says that in parts of that city, it’s possible to tell when the water system is about to be activated simply by listening for the humming sound produced by hundreds of household water pumps switching on.  

All these pumps pulling on the pipes creates negative pressure in the system, which in turn leads to other issues. One is that people who don’t have pumps often can’t get any water, even when the system is turned on. 

Another is that the negative pressure can suck dirt, sewage or other pollutants into the water system, contaminating the supply. 

“When I started this project, officials at the local water utility told me that these pumps were their number one problem, full stop,” says Meyer. “The public utility has claimed that 90% of contamination issues can be traced to the use of these devices.”

To test this, Meyer and his collaborators came up with a simple solution: a small, low-cost (less than $20) pressure control valve that can be fitted onto any pipe to neutralize the effect of downstream pumps.

In many areas of Delhi, India, households use water pumps like these to pull water out of the pipes faster than it would otherwise flow from their local utility. A new study suggests that contrary to what is commonly believed, these pumps don’t always have a strong effect on average water quality. (Photo: David Meyer)

This simple plastic valve can be used to restrict the flow of water and neutralize the effect of a household water pump. (Image: David Meyer)

 

“As the pump operates, the valve automatically collapses itself to restrict the flow and keep the overall pressure the same,” he says. “Once we had this intervention, it enabled us to do a controlled experiment to find out how exactly the pumps were affecting water quality, which was something that hadn’t been done before.” 

Meyer and his team took more than 500 water quality measurements from two neighbourhoods over the course of about six weeks to get a baseline. After that, one of the two neighbourhoods was fitted with these new pressure control valves, and the team collected another set of more than 500 measurements, covering another six weeks. 

Having a pump more than doubled the chances of finding a water sample with high turbidity, a measure of the water’s cloudiness that is sometimes associated with water quality concerns. 

But on average, the water quality varied ten times more from day to day and week to week than it did between the two neighbourhoodslikely due to what was happening in the rest of the system. 

“We expected dramatic effects, but pumps actually made very little difference to average water quality,” says Meyer. 

A more substantial effect was found by studying the water pressure, which also affects water safety. The neighbourhood with pumps had an average water pressure that was lower by about 0.5 m. That’s not a lot compared to the pressure in an average North American system, but in Delhi it represents between 20 and 40% of the water pressure many homes receive, meaning a big loss for people without pumps. 

The findings come with some caveats: the study involved only two neighbourhoods with a combined total of about 500 water connections. It also took place during the dry season — in the wet season there would have been more groundwater moving near the pipes that could potentially have carried contaminants. 

Still, Meyer says that the overall results point in two interesting directions. 

“Increasing water pressure by neutralizing pumps is a good thing, because it reduces the chance that contaminants can force their way into the pipes,” he says. 

“On the other hand, we now know that, at least for this area and this time of year, pumps are not the main factor driving water quality issues. Rather than focusing on pumps, we can focus on other things, such as improving the overall system integrity through leak detection and increasing the hours per day of water supply.” 

Meyer hopes that more studies like his will be done in the future. 

“Given that 250 million people get their water using these devices, it’s astonishing to me that until now, nobody had measured what they actually do,” he says. 

“I can’t say we’ve answered all the questions, but it’s an exciting first start. Now that we’re looking into this dramatically understudied feature of many water systems around the world, I hope others will start to pay more attention to it.” 

By Tyler Irving

This story originally published by Engineering News


CivMin welcomes three new faculty

The Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering welcomes three new faculty as of July 1, 2021. All three join as assistant professors.

Besides impressive academic credentials, among the trio there’s a myriad of surprising life skills and experiences as an army drill sergeant, dancing with Bill Nye the Science Guy, playing concerts as a flutist and strumming electric guitars.

“We wholeheartedly welcome our newest faculty members to the Department,” says Chair Brent Sleep offering his greetings. “Students will benefit from the fascinating range of expertise and experience they bring.  Join us in offering our newest professors a warm welcome to CivMin.”

Meet our newest faculty members and learn a bit more about each via their Q&A.
Welcome:

Daeho Kim

Seungjae Lee 

Sarah Haines

 

~CivMin~


CivMin’s Lucia Stafford is bound for Tokyo Olympic Games

Lucia Stafford (Year 4 CivE), a middle distance runner, has secured an Olympic berth as Athletics Canada announced their national team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games next month.

Stafford finished second in the women’s 1500m at the Olympic Trials. As a Varsity Blue, Stafford was a cross country phenom, helping the Blues to the 2017 national title, while winning both championship races to be named OUA and U SPORTS female athlete of the year in 2019.

On the track, she is a four-time OUA all-star and three-time U SPORTS all-Canadian. She was named the winner of the 2018 Dr. Wendy Jerome Trophy as the OUA female most valuable performer and wrapped up her intercollegiate career as U of T’s T-Holders’ female athlete of the year and the OUA female athlete of the year across all sports in 2019-20.

Her last international appearance came with two fifth-place finishes in the 1500m and 4×400 relay at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy.

Full story by Varsity Blues

 

Previous stories:

CivMin’s Stafford named OUA Female Athlete of the Year

 Stafford named female Varsity Blues Athlete of the Year

Lucia Stafford named OUA Athlete of the Week

Lucia Stafford breaks Canadian U23 1500m record

National champion: Lucia Stafford strikes gold in Kingston


Prof. Tamer El-Diraby | Industry Perspectives Op-Ed: Water and wastewater infrastructure in dire need of attention

June 30, 2021 | Daily Commercial News


Prof. Jeffrey Siegel | How safe are Ontario’s shelters and other shared living settings from airborne COVID-19?

June 29, 2021 | National Post


Congratulations to the CivMin Class of 2T0+PEY and 2T1

To the graduating students of the CivMin Class of 2T1 and 2T0+PEY,

Hosting a virtual reception on Gather Town and watching your virtual Convocation ceremony on June 23, 2021, was very moving.  We are tremendously proud of your many accomplishments and resiliency to adapt and overcome during the last year..  No matter where life takes you, we know you will use your skills and knowledge to have a lasting, positive impact as engineers.

The Convocation Office is shipping your U of T Engineering parchment to you.  To help celebrate its arrival at your door, I’d like to share this video of congratulations from many CivMin faculty and staff.

You’re now joining a network of over 50,000 U of T Engineering Alumni. With words of encouragement and well wishes, they also congratulate you on your accomplishment.

Please do stay connected with the CivMin community as a member of the Engineering Alumni Association, which offers many alumni benefits and supports.  Keep your contact info up-to-date through U of T Engineering CONNECT to stay informed about special events and opportunities in your region.

Engineering Dean Chris Yip has also posted a Convocation message to the class of 2021.

We wish you all the best for a bright and fulfilling future!

 

The CivMIn reception for Convocation held on the Gather Town platform on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

~CivMin

 


CivMin Grads to Watch 2021

BUILDING COMMUNITY

Karen Chu (CivE 2T0 + PEY)

Karen Chu. Photo submitted.

Throughout her undergraduate studies, Karen Chu has jumped at any opportunity to both represent U of T Engineering and to be a voice for her peers.

She joined the CivClub, quickly moving up each year, from mentorship director to becoming the student club’s chair. As a student ambassador working in the Engineering Recruitment Office, she helped prospective students make the decision to choose U of T Engineering. And through the Girls’ Leadership in Engineering Experience initiative, run by the Engineering Outreach office, she shared her experiences to inspire the next generation of female engineers.

Like many civil engineering students, Chu says the highlight of her studies was Survey Camp. She and her classmates built their class monument, which consisted of a clear resin table that encased mementos from their undergraduate years, a tetherball pole, and a concrete stepping stone with their class year written on it with mosaic tiles.

“This experience incorporated all the elements of U of T Engineering — teamwork, designing and building, fun with friends, hard work and challenges, and a lasting impact,” says Chu.

Her biggest lesson from her undergraduate experience is to never give up and to never hesitate to ask for help — a message she wants to share with current and upcoming first years.

“Asking for help when needed has been vital to my personal growth,” she says. “I also learned the importance of community and communication. No work, especially in engineering, can be done alone and we need to be able to understand each other to accomplish goals together.”

Upon graduation, Chu plans to pursue a career in residential construction and apply her knowledge of building science to design sustainable homes.

 

I would like to thank the CivMin Department, staff and professors, for their continued support, Civ Club for helping me develop my soft skills, and the Civil Engineering community for welcoming me into the family and providing a place to call home. I would also like to give a shoutout to the CIV2T0 class. It’s been a wild journey but your kindness and comradery have made it an unforgettable experience.”

 


 

CATALYZING SUSTAINABILITY

Chibulu (Lulu) Luo (CivMin PhD 2T1)

Chibulu (Lulu) Luo. Photo submitted.

“I am passionate about using my engineering skills to address global challenges,” says Chibulu (Lulu) Luo.

Luo’s doctoral research examined current and future trends of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in one of Africa’s largest and fastest growing cities, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

“What was most exciting about my research was the opportunity to explore important sustainability and energy sector questions and conduct extensive fieldwork in Dar es Salaam,” says Luo. “I appreciate the fact that I led doctoral work that both aligns with this passion and aims to inform policies and investments for improved energy access and societal well-being in developing countries.”

In Dar es Salaam, Luo coordinated a diverse team of local graduate students, who helped to administer her research survey to more than 1,300 households across the city. Her research has also taken her to Ghana, Zambia and Rwanda.

She says one of her proudest moments during her time at U of T Engineering was helping to lead the Faculty’s Engineering Education for Sustainable Cities in Africa (EESC-A) project.

“I still have fond memories of 2018, a time when two of my EESC-A colleagues travelled from Toronto to Dar es Salaam to mark EESC-A’s presence at a policy workshop that I was planning as part of my fieldwork,” she recalls. “My memory is still painted with the joyous image of our after-workshop dinner and celebration at a beachfront restaurant in Dar es Salaam.”

Luo is currently working as a consultant with the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, providing research and strategic expertise to various renewable energy projects around the world.

She says she’s not entirely sure what the future holds, but “I certainly want to continue fuelling my passion for research, teaching and topics that are globally relevant and significant.”

 

A big thank you to my supervisor, Professor Heather MacLean (CivMin). Heather gave me space to delve into different topics, some of which did not make it to the written pages of my final thesis, but which were essential to developing my research questions and goals. I also appreciated our many conversations on research ideas or life in general – especially last year given the initial uncertainties of navigating research and life at home amid a global pandemic. I look forward to staying in touch with Heather over the course of my career.”

 

Stories by Liz Do and Tyler Irving

Read the full list of Engineering’s Grads to Watch posted on Engineering News


Meet Daeho Kim, one of CivMin’s new faculty members

Prof. Daeho Kim
(Photo: Phill Snel, CivMin)

Daeho Kim joins the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering as an assistant professor of civil engineering (Construction) beginning July 1, 2021.


We asked Prof. Kim to answer a few questions as an introduction to our CivMin community.

 

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself as an introduction.
I originally came from Seoul, South Korea. My academic journey started from the year 2006 at Yonsei University in South Korea. At there, I got my bachelor’s and master’s degree in Architectural Engineering. I went to the University of Michigan in 2016 and started a new academic journey in Civil engineering (MSc and PhD), exploring a new horizon of construction—co-robotic construction.

Q: Could you explain the focus of your research?
My research focus is to widen the horizon in construction by realizing the true value of co-robotic construction. My goal as a researcher is to lay a solid foundation for human-robot collaboration by establishing safe and cohesive teaming among workers and robots and reconfiguring the existing labor-intensive construction mechanism.

As you know, the construction industry is gradually gearing up to embrace a range of robotic solutions (please see this example, SAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVWayhNpHr0) to break through the sustained suffering from low productivity, poor safety, and the shortage of skilled young laborers. Equipment manufacturers have retrofitted their equipment with autonomous kits, and robotics companies are releasing a variety of construction robots at varying degrees of autonomy. Swimming with the tide, the construction academia is exploring new forms of robotic solutions. Imagine the successful deployment of robotic solutions. Robots will carry out repetitive and laborious tasks quickly, while workers can instead focus on supervising robots or troubleshooting uncertainties. It is not so hard to guess such synergy from the cohesive human-robot collaboration would greatly improve the project’s productivity as well as workers’ ergonomics and safety. This innovation will also be a key driver to make construction jobs more intellectual and attractive to prospective workers from various range of demographics.

Promising it may be, it is questionable whether the construction industry is ready to embrace robotic solutions. We need scalable safety technologies at high fidelity, redesign of workspace and work process, and the development of training programs for human workers who are to co-work with robots. Accordingly, my four research agendas are searching answers to the following questions: (i) first, how to ensure workers’ safety alongside robots at varying autonomy; (ii) second, how to improve workers’ physical, cognitive, and emotional comforts alongside robots, thereby having more productive and cohesive teaming between them; (ii) third, what the ideal work environment would it be not for human or robot, but for a human-robot crew; and (iv) fourth, how to foster a new workforce specialized in robot collaboration.

During my PhD, I worked mainly on the framework and technology development to ensure workers’ safety alongside robots, leveraging visible, imagery data, computer vision, and deep neural networks. In the future, I intend to explore the rest of the agendas by expanding our

knowledge and skillset to a variety of sensing modalities and learning techniques. Hope you find this interesting.

Q: Why did you choose U of T?
To answer this question, I would like to first share with you my research philosophy in construction. If I have to put it in a word, it would be practicality. I believe the value of research can truly shine when it is applied to the real world and address what the real field struggles with.

To attain practicality in research, having continued interaction with industry partners, hearing their voices and needs, and validating research at real construction sites are of great importance. Toronto, one of the largest cities in North America and the hub of a wide spectrum of construction projects, will provide me with such opportunities.

Last but not least, the other reason why I chose UoT is the ample opportunity for interdisciplinary research. To contribute to construction management, I am eager to embrace arising sensing modalities and advanced data analytics from the various domains and bridge the interdisciplinary gap. Where a better choice would there be than UoT—inarguably the top university in Canada having a rich set of academic professionals?

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
I am looking forward to meeting you all and getting to know more about you! I am a very open-minded and easy-going person. Anyone who knocks on my door will be very welcomed. I will have coffee ready in my office all the time.

Q: As a new professor, what one piece of advice would you give to new students?
Keep challenging and don’t be afraid of failures. Learning new knowledge, having new skillsets, and finally being an expert: none of these is straightforward and you may face difficulties. But don’t think of them as failures and think positive. Think you fell forward, not backward. Learning and progress are there in failure, sometimes even bigger than that of success.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your new position/during your time at U of T Engineering?
Apart from research and teaching, there is a thing that I would like to accomplish— which is, rebranding Civil Engineering! Construction, an industry that provides buildings and infrastructure essential to our daily lives, is one of the largest and important industries for society. Nevertheless, construction jobs are often considered as low-compensation occupations, and a portion of young construction professionals and students is sadly declining. I would like to challenge the pervaded pessimism and rebrand our department, stepping forward to the new paradigm of construction—more automated and digitalized co-robotic construction.

Q: Finally, is there anything fun/unusual/unexpected about yourself you’d like to share with our CivMin audience?
I have a special experience of teaching not in academia, but in the military. I trained 3,600 soldiers when I served military service in South Korea as a drill sergeant for two years!


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