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An Academic Consortium Approach To Construction Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.151.1 - 6.151.7

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Paper Authors

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William J. Norman

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Jerald Rounds

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session No. 1421

An Academic Consortium Approach to Construction Education Jerald L. Rounds, William J. Normand Rounds & Associates / The Electrical Contracting Foundation, Inc.


Construction education has gained a firm place in academic institutions over the last 50 years and is now maturing to the point of recognition of key sub sectors. Construction academic programs predominantly focus on general construction with some split along the lines of commercial, residential, industrial and civil. There has been a growing demand from industry over the last five years for programs recognizing specialty sectors, such as Electrical, Mechanical, Sheet Metal and Roofing. Major impediments to establishing specialty construction programs have been finding faculty qualified to develop and teach curriculum and finding room in existing curriculum for new programs.

A unique solution was developed through the Academic Consortium Project of the Specialty Construction Institute. The vision was to bring together a consortium of established construction programs with shared interest in developing the specialty area to design, develop, and deliver a shared curriculum. This would allow working in established programs rather than building “from scratch”. It also would allow faculty without broad expertise in specialty areas to develop a new, focused expertise with help from the industry. Finally, it would incorporate emerging technology and a new academic interest on collaboration, not only among academic institutions, but with industry, as well, to develop the new academic programs.

This paper introduces the shared curriculum concept and summarizes the academic consortium project. It then introduces the second-generation shared curriculum project, summarizing lessons learned and recognizing a renewed vision. For a detailed study of the shared curriculum project, see Normand1.

The Problem

Construction education has evolved over the last 50 years to become an accepted academic discipline found on most campuses throughout the United States. It has great diversity in its academic home, being found in Colleges of Engineering, Education, Architecture, Business, and even occasionally in Agriculture. There is some diversity in curriculum focus recognizing major industry sectors such as Commercial, Residential, Industrial and Civil. This focus reflects the structure of the industry entities responsible for the creation of the programs and providing faculty in the early years. Those sponsors were typically general contractors often working through their associations like the National Home Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of America.

Today’s construction industry is significantly different from that which spawned most construction academic programs. The industry dominance of general contractors with support from subcontractors in small specialty areas has given way to an industry built upon construction Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Norman, W. J., & Rounds, J. (2001, June), An Academic Consortium Approach To Construction Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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