David B. Ashley, Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

November 1, 2009
David B. Ashley

David B. Ashley, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. David B. Ashley, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE is a professor of engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where he most recently served as the eighth president from July 2006 to July 2009. This emerging research university, located in one of the nation’s fastest growing urban areas, currently enrolls more than 28,000 students with a projected enrollment of 32,000 by 2012 and employs more than 3,000 faculty and staff. Prior to coming to UNLV, Dr. Ashley served as the founding Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of California, Merced, and held the Shaffer-George Chair in Engineering. He has also served as Dean of Engineering at The Ohio State University and has held Civil Engineering faculty positions at the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Ashley’s principal research and teaching activities are in the area of construction project planning, focusing primarily on risk analysis and management of large-scale, complex projects. His recent studies have addressed innovative project financing and new project procurement approaches. His work with this field has brought him recognition as a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and from ASCE, the 2004 Peurifoy Construction Research Award; the 1992 Construction Management Award; and, in 2007, he was elected to Distinguished Member status. Dr. Ashley was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Construction in October of 2008. For his academic contributions, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Chalmers University in Sweden in May of 2000. Dr. Ashley holds B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and M.Sc. (Engineering-Economic Systems) and Ph.D. (Construction Management) degrees from Stanford University.

In this episode, David discusses the need to promote innovation in the civil engineering industry by greater investments in research and encouraging creativity in the engineering curriculum, particularly in the teaching of design. He also discusses threats and opportunities facing the profession and the value of more global thinking, strategic partnerships, and the need to understand and engage in sustainability. Additionally, he highlights some of his greatest professional accomplishments including his work on the expansion of the Panama Canal and the creation of a new University of California campus at Merced.

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