Asee peer logo

A Course in the Human Factors Approach to Construction Engineering and Management

Download Paper |


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

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kelli R. Kopocis-Herstein University of Nebraska, Lincoln

visit author page

Dr. Kelli Kopocis-Herstein is an Industrial Engineering and occupational safety and health scientist. She is currently an assistant professor of practice in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) and holds a courtesy appointment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Kopocis-Herstein teaches university level courses in research methods, human factors, productivity, occupational safety and health, ergonomics, engineering management, engineering economy, operations research, and decision analysis under uncertainty. She was the recipient of an Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) Regional Teaching Award in 2018.

With her colleagues from the University of Nebraska, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, George Washington University, University of Indiana, and Texas A&M University; Dr. Kopocis-Herstein has helped publish research journal papers, conference proceedings, and technical reports on the air transport of highly infectious patients, time-series analysis of non-fatal injuries and exposures, aerodynamic behavior of respiratory aerosols in hospital rooms, transient risk factor analysis of accident, safety and human performance alertness, transportation accident analysis, the analysis of RFID tracking on construction job sites, and engineering education.

visit author page


Terry L. Stentz University of Nebraska, Lincoln

visit author page

Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, College of Engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE, and Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health Science, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Omaha, NE.

visit author page

Download Paper |


While modern construction relies heavily on technology, materials, and methods, the execution of design and the profession of Construction Engineering and Management is largely human-centric.

Construction Engineering and Construction Management graduates need to be equipped with the knowledge, analytical methods, technical skills, and human perspectives that will allow them to lead and manage themselves so that they can successfully lead and manage others as well as the various resources necessary to complete complex construction projects and schedules that meet or exceed contract, budget, and safety objectives on a consistent basis. The key to construction productivity is human factors.

This paper describes 20 years of honing the design and presentation of an undergraduate senior level college course designed to immerse students in the vital and useful features of a human factors approach to construction engineering and construction management. Experiential and contextual learning dimensions include stress management; burn-out avoidance; sleep and shiftwork effects on productivity, safety, and well-being; scheduled overtime impacts; workplace violence prevention; lean construction; Total Quality Management (TQM); scientific work measurement techniques; human productivity analysis; conflict mode/conflict management; aging and diverse workforce issues; construction ergonomics; motivation and reward systems; management and learning styles; integrated communications approaches; personality profile; ethics and courage; individual and group authenticity; and the various types of leadership and decision-making situations that occur in a fast-moving stream of calculated risk-taking in construction projects.

The culminating course objective is for each individual student to know themselves and others within the framework of each human factors dimension so that they can know, manage, and motivate others more effectively. The outcome is a more fully integrated young construction professional who is better prepared to plan, communicate, lead, motivate, develop, and leverage human relationships for stronger commitment, higher performance, and teamwork.

Kopocis-Herstein, K. R., & Stentz, T. L. (2020, June), A Course in the Human Factors Approach to Construction Engineering and Management Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33992

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015