Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2020M.S. Civil Engineering, Universidad Industrial de Santander, 2016B.S. Civil Engineering, Universidad Industrial de Santander, 2013

"The construction industry demands professionals and leaders that make substantial contributions to the field in both research and practice. Thus, the learning environment should guarantee that students will gain the knowledge and skills they need as future professionals. "

Diana Franco Duran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She manages the newly initiated Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) concentration. Dr. Franco Duran received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and M.Sc. and B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Universidad Industrial de Santander (Colombia). Her primary research interest is in engineering education, focusing on teaching and learning. Specifically, she is interested in:

  • Evaluating the impact of contemporary pedagogy on enhancing students’ learning process.
  • Understanding how to promote effective learning environments that help students to develop the competencies required by the construction industry.
  • Developing assessment forms that constitute evidence about the knowledge acquired and skills developed by students.


  • Outstanding Reviewer. Journal of Civil Engineering Education – ASCE 2021
  • ASCE, JCEM Feature Paper: Review of Resource-Constrained Scheduling Algorithms. 2019
  • 1st Place ACOFI Award: Engineering Teaching is Stuck in the Past: How to Move Forward from the Traditional and Obsolete Approach? 2018
  • 3rd Place University Synchro Software Challenge: Improving Road Infrastructure and Minimizing Mobility Impacts by Accelerated Bridge Construction. 2018
  • Outstanding PhD Student: Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program. 2018

Research Interests

  • Engineering Education
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Competency Development
  • Contemporary Pedagogy

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Developing Context and Practice-Based Curricula in Construction Engineering and Management (2022). ABS Construction Research Congress (CRC), Arlington, March 9-12.
  • Employing Predictive Trend Analysis to Decrease Construction Schedule Delay (2021). ABS 2021 Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium (SIEDS)
  • Performance of Resource Constrained Scheduling Heuristics (2020). ABS Journal of Construction Engineering and Management,146 (4), pp 1-12.
  • Review of Resource-Constrained Scheduling Algorithms (2019). ABS Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 145 (11), pp 1-16.
  • Phantom Float in Commercial Scheduling Software (2019). ABS Journal of Automation in Construction, 103, pp 291-299.

Courses Taught

  • CE 3010 Project Business Planning Spring
  • CE 5500 Construction Scheduling, and Control Summer
  • CE 4015 Construction Industry Workshop: Bringing Theory to Practice Fall
  • CE 6500 Construction Practice Fall

Featured Grants & Projects

  • The Case Study Method as a tool to gain practical experience and learn specific skills in Construction.

    SoTL Research Grant 2022 -2023

    To implement the case study method in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) education while leveraging its potential to meet the construction industry's needs, I launched a new course called "Construction Industry Workshop" in Fall 2021. This case study-based course is part of the new CEM track in UVA's Civil Engineering undergraduate program. During my first year in the SoTL Scholars program, I collected artifacts of this class to examine the contributions of the case study method and the systematic inclusion of the cases' real actors to CEM education in terms of developing and improving students' project management skills. Based on the lessons learned from the class's first delivery, some improvements will be made to the class structure and cases' content to continue collecting data in the Fall 2022 iteration of the course.

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  • Using the Case Study Method as a tool to improve students' Construction Engineering and Management skills.

    SoTL Project 2021 -2022

    This study examines the contributions of the case study method to Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) education in terms of developing and improving a project manager's skills.

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