June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.225.1 - 24.225.14
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.
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