Construction concentration added to technology degree

Leslie Arntz

Specialty will focus on management used in construction

The concrete is poured, and the foundation is set. The framework is up and nailed together. The College of Technology’s new construction management concentration is ready to go next fall.

The concentration received its final approval last week and will be a specific concentration under the technology bachelor’s degree.

Raj Chowdhury, dean of the College of Technology, said a construction manager “is a person who understands how to take architectural design and change it into developing infrastructure, database management, surveying and materials testing.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for construction managers is expected to be excellent because the number of openings is expected to exceed the number of qualified individuals searching for jobs.

“We had a lot of people in the College of Technology who liked construction, but never had the opportunity to pursue construction,” Instructor Joe Karpinski said.

Karpinski currently teaches the Construction Technology class where students learn about roofing, dry walling, siding and other residential construction skills. It is the only construction-related course, but it will be joined by at least one new course in Fall 2007.

He said the plan is to introduce at least one new course in the sequence each semester and the goal is for all 10 of the new construction management courses to be offered within four years.

“As the program builds, we’ll add more sections,” he said.

Karpinski said the concentration will not focus on the actual building skills of construction. Instead, the focus will be on scheduling, estimating material needs and job site management.

“They’re not going to be the skilled laborers. They’ll be managing them,” he said.

Anticipated enrollment for the first year of the program is expected to be 60 students, according to the proposal summary submitted to the Education Policies Council, a body of the Faculty Senate that reviews and votes on curriculum issues, program and policy proposals.

Though there has been no formal advertising for the program, academic adviser coordinator Michael Gershe said he has received phone calls from parents and students expressing interest in the program.

“Anecdotally, there’s been a real good interest,” said Darwin Boyd, coordinator of the applied science and technology division. “Probably more than for anything (else).”

The college is now searching for new faculty to teach the new classes. Internships are part of the degree, so the college is exploring partnerships with construction management companies in order to fill mutual needs.

“Things have gotten more complex,” Boyd said. “These are things general contractors used to do, but they need more management skills. It’s become a more complex task than it used to be. It used to be learned on the job, but there is such a need to go further than that.”

Contact College of Technology reporter Leslie Arntz

at [email protected].