When Manos Maragakis goes to China, he usually doesn't visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the new sports complex anymore. It's not out of lack of interest; he's there to work. Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, has been visiting China since 1998, giving presentations, building relationships with engineers at universities and building exchange programs for students.
Later this week, he accompanies the Governor of Nevada as part of a delegation on a trade mission to identify business opportunities for Nevada companies and to encourage Chinese and South Korean investment in Nevada.
"This is an important trip for Nevada," Maragakis said, contemplating the significance of the benefits global awareness can bring to the state. "We are in a global economy; this will open minds to the nature of the competitiveness and opportunities. The trip will help Nevada see the perspective of how our cultures, our worlds, our way of thinking differs, and to help understand how we each think."
The 11-day trip features representatives from Nevada business and industry, higher education and research, natural resources, transportation and infrastructure. Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the trade mission last week in Las Vegas.
"The governor has assembled a good team," Maragakis said. "Higher education and research are well represented; DRI and UNLV will also be on the trip. This fits well with the college's initiative of providing a globally competitive engineering and computer science education, including high-quality applied research that produces new knowledge and innovative technologies of national and global interest. I also know that the University has a great interest in expanding its international programs, and I am happy to represent all the colleges in this trip."
Maragakis said the College of Engineering has an exchange agreement with Beijing Jiaotong University, has collaborated with Peking University and is collaborating with Tongji University, which has a multipurpose shake-table facility similar to the University of Nevada, Reno's facility.
"Just last week, Patrick Laplace, our large-structures earthquake engineering lab manager and an assistant research professor visited Tongji University to give technical lectures on shake-table operation to professors, technical personnel and students," Maragakis said. "In July, five of our students, in civil engineering, computer science engineering and chemical engineering, participated in the Jiaotong International Summer Camp for Engineering and Culture with students from around the world. The Colleges of Business and Science are also establishing relationships with fellow Chinese programs."
To illustrate the global perspective and reach of the University, Maragakis shared his schedule for the next six weeks. After he returns from China, he will go to Washington, D.C. to attend a meeting of the American Society of Engineering Education Public Policy Committee to which he was elected, then to Buenos Aires to attend the international annual meeting of the Global Engineering Deans Council, of which he is a member, and then to Georgia Tech to visit with fellow deans and tour their renowned research and innovation facilities.
"Many of my colleagues in the College of Engineering and other colleges around campus have similar activities planned," he said. "This shows the increased level of our global outreach, which is one of the needed steps we must take to succeed in a globally competitive environment."
"It's taken some hard work and persistence to bring these programs to life, and we are starting to see the payoffs," Maragakis said. "It will be good to begin building similar efforts in South Korea. These first steps by Governor Sandoval to open the horizons and establish relationships in these important regions will be a great benefit to Nevada."