Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Abstract Considering that the construction industry is a broad field with many different roles and responsibilities, the purpose of this research study was to examine construction students’ rationale for their future construction career role preferences so that construction educators can better prepare them for these roles. This study draws from previous research work and theories associated with self-interests and career identities. Engaging construction students in well-designed academic work that contributes to their preferred career roles in construction industry could increase their motivation to excel, their career identity formation, their academic success, and their smooth transitions into their preferred career roles upon graduation. The main reason for these positive outcomes would be because their academic work would line up better with their self-interests. It is therefore very important that construction educators align their curricula content so that it better prepares students for their preferred career roles. The first step in this process would be to gain insights into the preferred roles of current students. Consequently, the objectives of this research were to identify students’ career role preferences and the factors influencing their preferences; examine students’ reasons for pursuing construction education; and discuss students’ recommendations for construction education program improvements to better prepare them for their future roles in the construction industry. A self-reporting survey was administered to 42 students enrolled in the construction program at an HBCU. With a 1-10 rating structure, students indicated their preference for each role by assigning a number (rating) to that role. The Mean Preferred Career Role Score (MPCRS) for each listed role was calculated to determine students’ most preferred career roles. With the open-ended survey items, students had the opportunity to discuss the underlying reasons for their career role preferences and recommend construction education program improvements. Informal discussions with some selected students provided additional insights. Key findings indicated that future construction career role preferences were: (a) Project Manager (MPCRS = 8); (b) Superintendent (MPCRS = 7); (c) Real Estate Developer and Graduate Student (MPCRS = 6); and (d) Estimator / Inspector (MPCRS = 5). The reasons construction students gave for preferring the project manager and superintendent roles included high salaries, opportunity to lead, love for authority, prior experiences, internships, role models, management skills, hands on work, and working outdoors. The study showed that key reasons for students’ pursuit of a CM degree included hands-on work, prior experience in the construction field, and a genuine interest or love for construction. Through surveys and informal discussions, students agreed that to better prepare them for their preferred roles, undergraduate construction programs should endeavor to allocate more resources to enhancing the following: course availability and variety; challenging projects; hands-on activities, innovative teaching methods, well-designed mentoring programs, collaboration with industry partners, internships, field trips, workshops, residential construction knowledge and experiences, and extracurricular activities. Findings from this study provide insights that may be used to guide curriculum development, student advisement, and better preparation of construction students so that they can excel in their preferred roles in the construction industry.
Porter, D. F., & Ofori-Boadu, A. N. (2018, June), Examination of Future Construction Career Role Preferences and Identities of Construction Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30463
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