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Educating Project Managers For The Construction Industry

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

EMD Curriculum Design

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.570.1 - 12.570.11



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Paper Authors


Raymond Krizek Northwestern University

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Stanley F. Pepper Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208

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Ahmad Hadavi Northwestern University

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Adjunct Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208

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

Educating Project Managers for the Construction Industry


With the increasing complexity of constructing and maintaining infrastructure facilities, there has been a growing need for civil and environmental engineers to supplement their technical and managerial skills through advanced degrees in engineering and management. ASCE has clearly supported this idea by adopting the master’s degree (or its equivalent) as the first professional degree. The means to acquire additional technical expertise has been addressed quite adequately by a variety of master’s degree programs at many universities throughout the country, but the challenge to impart the requisite managerial skills has not been satisfied very effectively. The latter is based on the premise that an MBA education is not ideal for managing large public and private projects which require managers with considerable technical expertise, as well as managerial skills. The Master of Project Management (MPM) program at Northwestern University has been established in response to this specific need in the construction industry.

The program’s multidisciplinary approach combines essential components of civil engineering design with concepts of business management and behavioral science to develop technically qualified individuals for responsible management roles in the design, construction, and operation of major engineering projects. The particular features that make this program particularly responsive to this need are (a) it is taught almost exclusively by a faculty of more than 20 high- level practitioners, (b) the student body is truly global to enhance the multicultural aspects of the current market, (c) the course selections are very flexible and custom-designed to meet the needs and objectives of each individual, (d) the program is dynamic and courses are continually added or deleted as the situation dictates, (e) courses are scheduled to accommodate both full-time and part-time students, and (f) strong emphasis is placed on the development and improvement of communication skills, both oral and written. One of the major impediments to the more widespread implementation of this program is the fact that the industry, as a whole, is not very supportive of employee participation – both in terms of financial remuneration for tuition and time-off to attend classes. In addition to the degree program, individual courses can be taken to earn a credential or to satisfy PDHs for professional registration.


After World War II, the increased complexity of construction projects in the mid-1950s provided the impetus for an emerging new field of Construction Engineering and Management (CE&M) within civil engineering. The first journal of the ASCE Construction Division was published in August of 1957, and all five papers in the first issue were case studies related to different aspects of the Navy’s Variable-Angle Launcher. In the introduction M. D. Morris, Chairman of the Committee on Publications wrote1:

“This is the belated first issue of the JOURNAL OF THE CONSTRUCTION DIVISION. Until now we’ve been without a JOURNAL in the belief that most construction articles of interest appeared in the trade magazines. Now we know we need papers designed to advance the theory and practice of planned

Krizek, R., & Hadavi, A. (2007, June), Educating Project Managers For The Construction Industry Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2740

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