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A Construction Management Competition as the Basis of a Capstone Culminating Event

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Construction Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Construction Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


M. Scott Stanford P.E. United States Air Force Academy Orcid 16x16

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Lt Col Scott Stanford is an Assistant Professor in the US Air Force Academy's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is an active duty Air Force officer and career civil engineer. He has a B.S. and M.S. from Clemson University and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder. His research interests are in construction management, project delivery, and engineering education.

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Joel Sloan P.E. United States Air Force Academy Orcid 16x16

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Col Joel Sloan is the Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1998, his MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado in 2000, and his PhD in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2011.

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James B. Pocock United States Air Force Academy

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James Pocock is a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. His interests include architectural and engineering educations, and sustainable architecture, engineering and construction in the developing world.

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M. Mark Russell P.E. DFCE

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Culminating design events serve as a hallmark of most undergraduate engineering programs. This paper presents a case study of a novel approach to conduct a compressed-timeframe culminating event just prior to graduation. The event is designed to leverage best practices in literature related to team-building, competitions, student leadership, real-project case studies, and high-impact practices. The culminating event takes place at the conclusion of a two-semester capstone sequence. In the middle of this two-semester sequence, 12 students from a class of roughly 40-50 participate in the intercollegiate Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition. The ASC competition then serves as the model for the culminating event, in which these 12 students leverage their experience to assume a leadership role among their peers. Near the end of the second semester, students transition from their traditional capstone course sequence to a culminating design event. During this transition, the 12 students who participated in the ASC competition form teams of 12-15 students each, which they will lead as they compete academically to “win” a design-build contract for a real project. Teams integrate students’ experiences from four sub-disciplines represented in the major: construction, environmental, geotechnical, and structural engineering. Additionally, both faculty members and industry advisors serve as mentors and coaches. The event climax is an intensive one week work period that simulates the construction industry environment they will experience after graduation. During this sprint to the finish, students complete their design and construction plans, assemble their final deliverables, and brief a panel of judges to include real project stakeholders. The paper outlines assessment of both the event and the student deliverables, with linkages to ABET outcomes. This case study should prove useful to educators exploring innovative approaches to their capstone course, those looking to conduct a culminating event in a compressed timeframe, as well as those interested in providing leadership development opportunities for graduating engineers.

Stanford, M. S., & Sloan, J., & Pocock, J. B., & Russell, M. M. (2020, June), A Construction Management Competition as the Basis of a Capstone Culminating Event Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33987

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