In the September 2020 ACCE Newsletter, I shared that one of the questions that CHEA asked on the application for recognition was for ACCE to provide evidence of our programs' ongoing attention to appropriate innovation. For me to answer this question, I requested feedback from our Program Leaders. I received fantastic responses, both in quantity and quality! So much so, that I had a discussion with Chip Mansfield, our webmaster. We now have this web page set up for discussion forums. We have started five different discussion – one of them is for innovation. With the responses that I received, I felt that the information is valuable for all of our programs to consider. So here is the feedback on innovations!
From Roger Williams University
Our program has just started to incorporate drones into our surveying class. The plan is to expand this innovation to several other CM courses that would benefit. We also have significantly invested in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Immersed Reality (IR)
and similar technologies into several of our courses with great success.
From Minnesota State University, Moorhead
Minnesota State University Moorhead just got approved from our system to offer our program online. AY2020-2021 we officially have a face-to-face delivery model and an online delivery model. Our marketing team has some work to do to get this information out there better, which they are currently working on.
From Alfred State College
Most recently the college has purchased upgraded hovercams for every classroom with microphones capable of capturing student questions and comments to facilitate online learning and decreased density in our classrooms due to COVID 19.
In addition, our department has invested in tablets and stylus for all faculty to simulate whiteboards seamlessly for virtual lecturing.
From Mississippi State University
We have the studio courses here at Mississippi State which is something new among ACCE schools. I heard some other schools are investigating studio course formats. We also have collaborative studios with our Architect colleagues which gives our students some creative skills. We see that they can present themselves better and work in groups naturally as they would in the workplace.
From the University of Southern Mississippi
· INNOVATION: The University of Southern Mississippi’s CM program has offered students the opportunity to gain certificates with the DBIA in a required course within the curriculum: AEC 300: Seminar, this course is now offered with the idea that the topic will be some area of development related to the CM or Built Environment industry/practice, and allows us to be innovative with current topics; in the past those have been “Leadership”, LEED, and now we are offering “Design-Build” via the DBIA standards. Every faculty that teaches in the Construction program and Architecture program is strongly encouraged to get DBIA educator certified and many go on to become DBIA associates. We have had 9 full time faculty get this training, 7 of which are still with us, two have gone on to other opportunities, and we have one more in three in line to get certified making the CM and A program educators 100% DBIA educated, four of which are DBIA-Associates (the current 3 that are not yet DBIA members are all new hires within the past year).
· INNOVATION: Our lab-based courses (3) are NCCER certified, which allows us to have a third-party performance verification of learning within the course, such as Materials, Soils, Concrete. The performance of learning the lab skill is identical for our on campus students and our online students. The online students have an option to get the performance verification in their local area/state or come to USM and we do this in the summer. Because the NCCER is represented in every state in the US and in 5 countries outside of the US. We have student in our online program from over 30 different states. All faculty who teach the lab-based courses are certified by the NCCER as educators. Our state representative for NCCER is Mike Barkett with the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF). NCCER = National Center for Construction Education & Research.
· STRATEGIC: We have implemented a “Industry-Partnering” requirement for each course, a faculty member Is required to identify a member of the construction industry, typically this is one of our Industry Advisory Council Members, we have 43 now (Zero when I arrived) and this has been very effective in keeping us relevant and current, and it helps faculty to broaden their network so they do not feel so isolated, as many tenure-track ph.d.’s that are internationals, do feel. And it also keeps our industry supporters and alums aware of what we are doing, beyond the twice a year meetings we have with the IAC.
· STRATEGIC: The CM program has for each course, the faculty member has an “Academic-Partner” from another university that teaches in the same area, they get to select this person. (I saw this in place at California Baptist University when I went on an accreditation visit as a team member, and implemented that here at USM)
· INNOVATION: We consider our particular approach to CM and ARCH education to be a collaborative model, hence we find DBIA a model for Teaming, Partnering and cooperation vs. the separate competitive adversarial approach.
· INNOVATION: Students have also founded a USGBA Green Associate student Organization that is also partnered between CM and ARCH and also Interior Design, our goal is to expose the students to what they will encounter in practice and in the workplace.
From Arizona State University
I think the nature of our discipline, being so well intertwined with industry (CH 8 of the standard) that we automatically innovate to respond to the needs of the industry. Basically, if a program is responding and meeting the needs of the industry, then it is automatically innovating.
I think innovation is also shown in something becoming bigger. For example our required internships in the construction curriculum have been around for over 15 years. We have the distinction this year that the provost is rolling out our construction internship process (academic credit, field journal, reflection paper, job description/assessment by the company) university wide. Business, Law, Public Administration, Architecture, Journalism, and others. They are all going to be using our process that we have developed and refined.
Other things such as “Give a Latte” to get graduating seniors to donate $5 a month on their credit card to stay connected and get in the habit of donating also get pulled upwards. Another school within the engineering college is adopting it this year, and I anticipate it will go college-wide next year once the Dean sees our programs development accounts being boosted.
Innovation naturally starts with construction; we have the industry support, we have the discretionary funds (from the industry), and we have the drive in faculty, students, and alumni to try new things without waiting for “others.” And if something doesn’t work, we modify or drop it and keep moving forward, in true construction style.
From Purdue University
During the fall 2015 Construction Management (CM) retreat meeting the faculty were asked “If you could start over from scratch, what would you do?” The School took the challenge and set a goal to transform CM curriculum into an innovative learning environment that creates a “seamless transition from college to industry”. The main idea behind the curriculum transformation was horizontal and vertical integration of student learning outcomes in an authentic, active- and project-based learning, team-taught environment. The horizontal learning refers to the integration of subject-oriented courses centered on a project life cycle and vertical learning focuses on distributing the subject-oriented course material throughout the entire four-year curriculum. The new curriculum was launched in the fall 2017 semester. This undertaking is one of the most comprehensive and unique curriculum transformation projects in a 150-year-long history of Purdue University. We are not aware of any other academic program that has attempted to implement an integration of this magnitude encompassing the entire 4-year curriculum. Since there was no roadmap to follow, the CM faculty have had to demonstrate a great deal of creativity and ingenuity in implementing this transformation. The very first class to graduate under the new curriculum is scheduled for December 2020, one semester ahead of schedule.
From Auburn University
The McWhorter School of Building Science (BSCI) curriculum has recently incorporated a major curriculum change to include a required Service Learning class in the form of the senior year BSCI 4360 Construction Field Lab class – Building Science students conduct a service learning project to integrate all components of the construction process. This class is closely aligned with service learning educational frameworks and involves: hands-on construction work, meeting the communities’ needs, client relations, site safety planning, cost estimating, scheduling, and oral presentations. The vision for BSCI Service Learning is described below:
BSCI will provide a Service Learning experience in which students will participate in an organized, hands-on, construction service project that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain a broader appreciation of the Built Environment, and an enhanced sense of serving others and civic responsibility.
With the addition of BSCI 4360, the McWhorter School of Building Science is creating a culture of Service Learning within the school and planting the seeds of service to others that will carry into their professional careers and personal lives.
Each semester (Fall & Spring), BSCI will have 6 teams of students, with 10 students per team, enrolled in BSCI 4360. The class meets for 4 hours each week, thus, each team is required to perform 40 hours of Service Learning work per week. The BSCI 4360 syllabus allows for 3 weeks at the beginning of the semester for planning, meeting with clients, and pre-construction coordination; 10 weeks for actual hands-on construction activities; and 2 weeks at the end of the semester for assessment, videos, and reflection papers, etc. Therefore, each BSCI student team will perform 400 hours of hands-on construction work per semester in service to others.
From the University of Oklahoma
In our program, innovation comes from two primary sources:
1. Professional Advisory Board – Every semester the board does focus groups with students and based on those focus groups as well as what they are seeing we receive feedback on changes that should be considered/made. In recent history those changes have been:
a. Required training on BIM software and plugins
b. Teaching Bluebeam
c. Increased interdisciplinary collaboration
2. Professional Development – Each faculty is evaluated yearly on professional development. This includes both professional and pedagogical development and it leads our program to innovation in the classroom. In recent history it has led to:
a. Offering our surveying course in the intersession instead of the regular semester
b. Offering the Design Build Professional credential in a class
c. Creating a certificate in entrepreneurship and real estate development (this is the one support by HELP)
From Colorado State University
As a result of COVID-19 and a general slowdown in the industry, our internship program did have to develop a virtual internship option for some of our students. Students who could complete their internship in-person, did so. However, there were some students for which this was not an option. Among other things, the virtual internship involved assigning a virtual mentor from industry, different field trips, and paper assignment that helped student gain the same kind of experience that they might obtain if working on an actual project.
From California Baptist University
Below, please find the excerpts from our recent Visiting Team Report mentioning about our industry and academic curriculum partners. I just copied the full paragraph directly from Page 29 Section 11.1.4 of VT S20 - CA. Baptist – VTR-07 2020.03.30.
11.1.4 The innovative use of two industry members, one outside academic, and the course champion in the development for continuous improvement of courses deserve a special mention. This relationship with the Industry Advisory Council is a Strength.
From Drexel University
The Drexel Construction Management program completed a complete update of their curriculum to include more innovation and technology. Classes specifically related to technology and Building Information Modeling were made required courses. Software that had not been used in the past was integrated into several courses in the curriculum. The software specifically is Procore and Bluebeam. This software is introduced in the freshman and sophomore year and used extensively in the final three years of the program.
From the University of North Florida
The most prominent way the UNF Construction Management Department has utilized new innovation is through incorporating video conferencing into the class. There are several key areas where video conferencing is now used to ensure the students receive the highest educational opportunities. For example, class instruction is provided through Zoom video conferencing. This allows for a greater number of students to enroll in courses, helping the graduation rate. Guest speakers are either invited through Zoom or utilize the College’s Distance Learning lab. This allows for some in face instruction while also streaming simultaneously. The students viewing online are still able to view the computer screen being used in the class and the guest lecturer is able to interact with students.
Additionally, site visits have been conducted through video production. The faculty member visits the location and records the various sites and industry interaction. Students are allowed to submit questions and must write a follow up report on the visit.
The lab component of the class has also been revitalized. Some students are able to participate in the lab in person while the lab experiment is being recorded. Students viewing online can ask questions and interact with the professor during the experiment.
Lastly, the department has helped to conduct a live virtual tour for STEM major students. Various colleagues from the College collaborated to do a virtual walking tour of the campus so students could view the STEM labs, offices, and faculty prior to their arrival to campus. The live tour also had a live chat that was monitored so the students could ask questions as the “walk” was conducted.
From Eastern Kentucky University
Here are some innovation that we have recently begun but have not fully implemented:
1) We purchased a drone and imaging software to augment our surveying courses (it has not yet been integrated into the curriculum)
2) We are developing ways to extend our program past our main campus by pursuing an e-presence (livestream audio video) to other regions
3) We have created a financial campaign fund of $250,000 from broad industry support to be used to attract and retain qualified program instructors.
From Florida Insitute of Technology
The Construction Management Program at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) continuously incorporates innovations into the curriculum. ACCE plays a major role in this process through both formal and informal sharing of academic and industry best practices. Two years ago the Procore Company gave a presentation at an ACCE annual meeting demonstrating their cloud based Construction Management System (Figure 1). This software allows document storage (drawings and specifications), electronic routing of a variety of forms/reports, budget tracking, and multiple other ways to share information and coordinate between contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers (Figure 2). All documents and processes are available through hand-held device, tablet and desktop computer web access.
After the ACCE meeting I contacted Procore and was able to set up an FIT educational account, receive faculty training, and set up student access to the software. We incorporated Procore into our CON 2001 Construction Methods and CVE 4070 Construction Engineering courses. Students complete web-based Procore Student Certification as a homework assignment and have the opportunity to complete additional Procore certifications which are valuable in their future job searches (Figures 3 and 4). During the course students use Procore to access construction drawings and specifications to analyze and create contract change order documents, cost estimates, and schedules.
Many of our industry partners use this software. Many of our students report that they have used their Procore skills in industry on internships or full-time jobs after graduation.