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EDUCATION AND TRAINING Boosting underground training opportunities 23 Oct 2013
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
Colorado School of Mines strengthens its commitment to advancing the future needs of the tunneling and underground construction industry by appointing Professor Mike Mooney as it new Grewcock University Endowed Chair in Underground Construction and Tunneling (UC&T).
Scholarship students, and Colorado School of Mines staff during a visit to DC Water's Clean Rivers Project as part of RETC2013. Pictured (left to right) - Back row: Kevin Schaeffer, Mahmood Arshad, Conor Lenon, Kamyar Mosavat, and Ben Goertz. Middle row: CSM Faculty Brian Asbury, Adam Moore, Lisa Mori, Grewcock University Endowed Chair in Underground Construction and Tunneling Prof Mike Mooney, and Simon Prassetyo. Front Row: Center for UC&T Coordinator Andi Niess, and James Maher

Scholarship students, and Colorado School of Mines staff during a visit to DC Water's Clean Rivers Project as part of RETC2013. Pictured (left to right) - Back row: Kevin Schaeffer, Mahmood Arshad, Conor Lenon, Kamyar Mosavat, and Ben Goertz. Middle row: CSM Faculty Brian Asbury, Adam Moore, Lisa Mori, Grewcock University Endowed Chair in Underground Construction and Tunneling Prof Mike Mooney, and Simon Prassetyo. Front Row: Center for UC&T Coordinator Andi Niess, and James Maher

Professor Mooney will lead a university-wide Center of Excellence in UC&T, which is an interdisciplinary effort across civil, geological and mining engineering, and includes mechanical and electrical engineering, geophysics and computer science. The mission of the Center, based in Golden, Colorado, is to educate engineers (who frequently have not yet specialized in the underground arm of the engineering discipline) to join the UC&T industry and to advance knowledge that benefits industry through research.
Mines' interdisciplinary approach unites faculties and students from across a range of civil, geological, mining engineering and other disciplines to develop leaders and advance practice for the underground construction and tunneling industry. The Center for UC&T works closely with industry partners, conducting innovative research that takes on the challenges unique to the industry. By forging links with industry leaders and institutions students are afforded opportunities to further their studies and gain a practical understanding of the specific needs of the specialist tunneling discipline. Earlier this year the Society for Mining, Metalurgy and Exploration (SME) awarded seven scholarships to allow Mines students to attend the RETC Conference in Washington, in addition to six more who attended courtesy of scholarships awarded by the Mines Center for UC&T.
The many departments involved in the Center for UC&T at Mines offer a collection of courses unmatched anywhere in the USA, including: site investigation, analysis, design, construction and project management of underground structures, as well as fundamental courses in soil mechanics, rock mechanics, groundwater, and structures and risk assessment needed for this complex field. Its Mining Engineering department offers a tunnel specific minor in Tunneling and Underground Construction, and there are opportunities to advance knowledge further through MS and PhD degrees in UC&T.
Prof Mike Mooney

Prof Mike Mooney

The Grewcock University Endowed Chair in UC&T was established through a generous gift from 1976 Mines alumnus Bruce E. Grewcock, the Chairman and CEO of Kiewit Corporation. "Colorado School of Mines equipped me with the technical expertise and training that our industry demands," said Grewcock. "The UC&T Center at Mines will serve as a valuable training and research resource." Grewcock sees a clear need for strong university focus nationally in UC&T, both to prepare the engineering workforce of the future and to solve challenging problems through interdisciplinary research. "Underground infrastructure is being built in increasingly complex geologic environments, so the demand for highly skilled professionals is growing," said Grewcock. "Through partnerships with educational institutions like Mines, we can meet the demands of our growing industry."
A registered professional engineer, Dr Mooney brings 18 years of academic and consulting experience in heavy civil engineering and construction to this position. He received a BS in civil engineering from Washington University in St Louis, an MS in civil-structural engineering from the University of California-Irvine, and a PhD in civil-geotechnical engineering from Northwestern University. His expertise lies in soft ground tunnel design and construction, ground improvement, instrumentation/monitoring of construction systems, nondestructive imaging techniques and intelligent geoconstruction processes. He has been the principal investigator for more than 30 geoconstruction-related research projects and has authored more than 100 technical publications. Professor Mooney teaches courses in tunnel design and construction, support of excavations/earth retaining structures, instrumentation and monitoring, nondestructive evaluation and intelligent geosystems. He advises numerous graduate and undergraduate students pursuing industry-applied research projects in UC&T.

Engineering careers in tunneling and underground space

Professor Mooney, formerly Acting Director of the Center for UC&T, is excited about the future for underground construction education and research at Colorado School of Mines. "Mines is a natural fit for a Center of Excellence in UC&T given the collective strength of the civil, geological and mining engineering departments, the industry-focused nature of Mines and a university mission that is strongly tied to earth engineering." He and his colleagues are eager to help grow the output of talented engineers and provide value to the industry through research. "We have a great group of interdisciplinary faculty dedicated to advancing UC&T. In addition, our students are excited by UC&T," he said. "Some of the most sophisticated engineering in extremely challenging environments is being carried out underground around the world. The more UC&T courses our students take, seminars they attend, and projects they participate in, the more they gravitate toward this challenging field."
Professor Mooney welcomes input from industry. "Our mission is to advance and help grow the UC&T industry. Industry involvement and engagement is critically important to our efforts."
References
Colorado School of Mines Centre for Underground Construction

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