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Benefits and Practical Aspects of Involving Construction Professionals in International Service-Learning Projects

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Global Perspective and Experiential Learning in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.225.1 - 24.225.14



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Paper Authors


John E. Greenleaf P.E. Quinnipiac University

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John Greenleaf received his Ph.D. from Lehigh University in 2007 and is a licensed professional engineer. In 2013 he joined Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Ct., to lead the development of a new civil engineering program within the newly established engineering school. His professional background includes work in the areas of environmental engineering, construction, service-learning projects, and undergraduate engineering education. His involvement in service learning projects for more than a decade has included work with Engineers Without Borders, Water for People, and the Tagore-SenGupta Foundation.

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Emils Stires Schnore Independent construction professional

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Raised by artists. Graduated with a journalism degree from Kutztown University in 1995. In 1996, employed by a design/build firm specializing in period-respectful restoration/additions with projects focused on artisan quality craftsmanship in all trades. Interested in service learning projects.

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Patrick M. Strenk P.E. Golder Associates, Inc.

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Patrick M. Strenk, Ph.D., P.E., is a former visiting assistant Professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., He earned B.S. degrees in civil engineering and geology from Lehigh University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Drexel University, specializing in geotechnical earthquake engineering. He is currently a senior project geotechnical engineer with Golder Associates, Inc. in Reno, Nevada, working in the mining industry.

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Construction Professionals, Practicing Engineers, and Educators; Modeling Good Professional Practices During Service Learning ProjectsService learning projects have long been a venue in which engineering educators and practicingengineers could work with and mentor students in their respective disciplines. The benefits ofthese professional collaborations to service learning projects and their intended learningobjectives have been well documented in the open literature and offer a variety of perspectivesincluding those of students, educators, professionals, community partners and affiliated non-governmental organizations. Despite this added value of collaboration in service learningprojects, significantly less consideration has been given to other individuals relevant to theengineering profession; most notably, construction professionals (or contractors). Often, whenconstruction professionals are included in the process they tend to be procured in-situ from thelocal/indigenous population and employed only during the construction phase of the project.While often both productive and helpful, these individuals are often poorly representative ofdomestic construction professionals in both practice, experience and professionalism. Based onboth field experiences and professional practice, it is the premise of this paper that both theeducational experience and the project outcome can be positively influenced by the inclusion ofour domestic colleagues in all phases of the project, not just construction. Beginning with thedesign process, contractors bring best practices in both construction and constructionmanagement to the project. This experience and professionalism is carried over to theconstruction phase resulting in benefits to both the quality and timely completion of the project.Overall, engineering students learn the importance of contractors to the design, planning andconstruction phases of a project and benefit by understanding how to communicate not just withother engineers, or with a client, but with all the stakeholders critical to a project. A collaborationincluding educators, practicing engineers, and contractors models good professional practice andhelps bridge the gaps between theory, practice, and practicality in engineering design. Giventhese numerous benefits, this work also examines some of the practical aspects related tolocating and retaining these individuals as partners in successful service learning projects.

Greenleaf, J. E., & Schnore, E. S., & Strenk, P. M. (2014, June), Benefits and Practical Aspects of Involving Construction Professionals in International Service-Learning Projects Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20116

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