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Salute to Construction: Technology and Construction Management - Missouri State University

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The Missouri State University department of Technology and Construction Management offers a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management. The degree is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. There are currently about 250 students majoring in construction management, and about 70 students are expected to earn degrees in the 2010–11 academic year.

Graduates complete coursework in math and science, business, construction science and construction. Students must also complete an internship, usually between the junior and senior year, to gain practical experience. The department also offers an online master’s in project management.

Student teams compete each fall in the Region IV Associated Schools of Construction’s Construction Management Competition held in Nebraska City, Neb. The region has 16 schools from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas. The department sends six-person teams to compete in four divisions: commercial, residential, design-build and heavy highway. Team members are selected early in the fall semester and prepare for the competition with faculty coaches by meeting with industry professionals, collecting and organizing reference materials, and practicing presentation skills.

Teams travel to Nebraska City on a Wednesday in late October. A problem is distributed to all teams at 6 a.m. on Thursday. Problems vary by division but usually require the teams to develop a plan to complete a project and submit estimates and schedules for the work. The teams must submit their solutions at midnight and then prepare to present the solutions Friday afternoon. MSU teams placed in three of the four divisions in 2009. Winning teams are recognized at the Salute to Construction banquet.

Students also take advantage of field trip opportunities. Local field trips are frequently scheduled as a course requirement or as a Construction Club activity. Recent field trips have included the City Utilities Southwest Power Plant, the Prestressed Casting Company, and the new University Recreation Center. Bus trips are regularly arranged to St. Louis and Kansas City. In fall 2009, 60 students went to visit the BJC Healthcare Systems Data Center and Mercy Enterprise Data Center construction projects in St. Louis, and 65 students took a two-day trip to Kansas City this spring to the Performing Arts Center and Paseo Bridge construction sites and visited the LaFarge cement plant and KC Structural Steel fabrication shop.

The department hosts an annual job fair to aid students seeking internships and employment after graduation. The job fair was moved from spring to fall this year to better fit company hiring schedules.

The rapid growth in student enrollment in construction management degree programs over the past decade is moderating as the supply of graduates becomes aligned with the demand from industry. The program will continue to focus on producing graduates with higher levels of technical skill by incorporating building information modeling and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design concepts across the curriculum, enhancing hands-on experiences and encouraging interaction with the construction industry.

Kerry Slattery is assistant professor of technology and construction management at Missouri State University. For more information, visit www.tcm.missouristate.edu.

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