Category Archives: Engineering

ECU names new engineering chair

ECU and the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) have announced that Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer has been named the chair of the CET’s Department of Engineering.

“Barbara and I share a deep commitment to the success of students who come to ECU for engineering, as well as the life-long success of our graduates in their careers and communities,” said CET Dean Harry Ploehn. “I’m looking forward to her leadership in sustaining that program’s excellence and commitment to student access and student success.”

Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer has been named the chair of the CET’s Department of Engineering.

Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer has been named the chair of the CET’s Department of Engineering. (Contributed photo)

Muller-Borer earned her MS and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focused on computational modeling of electrical signal propagation in normal and injured heart tissue. Before coming to ECU in 2004 as an assistant professor at the Brody School of Medicine (BSOM), she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular physiology and imaging at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Division of Cardiology. She was involved in several outreach initiatives with summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs and American Heart Association summer programs for high school students.

While in the BSOM, Muller-Borer established the Cell-based Therapies and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, where current research is focused on developing 3D cardiovascular tissue microenvironments to study cardiac and adult stem cell interactions. Her lab at ECU has provided mentoring and research opportunities to more than 33 undergraduate, graduate and medical students. She is a member of a team that established and serves as an advisor for the Cellular Analysis/Imaging Core facility in BSOM.

In 2012, Muller-Borer joined the Department of Engineering as an associate professor. She was instrumental in establishing CET’s Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering program, which graduated its first class in December 2016.

She succeeds Dr. Hayden Griffin, who served as chair for nearly eight years.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as chair of the Department of Engineering,” said Muller-Borer. “It is an exciting time to be a part of the university, CET and the department. I look forward to working with Dean Ploehn, CET’s leadership team and the engineering faculty to continue to maximize student success, enhance academic program excellence and advance research and scholarship.”

Among her goals for the department, Muller-Borer will build upon the department’s core values and sense of community to give undergraduate engineering students the support and attention needed to prepare them for success as they enter the engineering workforce. In addition, Muller-Borer will lead the department to further innovation in engineering education, expand industry support for senior capstone projects, and grow graduate research programs in biomedical and mechanical engineering. To do this, she plans to expand on and explore new, multidisciplinary, collaborative relationships for engineering faculty with researchers across the ECU campus and UNC System, as well as facilitate interactions with industry, business and public sector organizations across eastern North Carolina.

The significance of being engineering’s first female chair is not lost on Muller-Borer. She hopes her appointment will bring attention to the fact that women are underrepresented in the engineering field.

“To tackle this problem, we need to partner with K-12 schools, community colleges and employers to identify and provide solutions that make engineering education and careers more attractive to talented female students,” added Muller-Borer.

 

-Michael Rudd, University Communications

New STEM-related degrees announced

ECU and the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) announced three new degree programs: Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering (BSSE), Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) and Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS).

“These new degrees reflect the college’s commitment to maximizing student success and leading regional transformation,” said Dr. Harry Ploehn, CET dean. “Software engineering, mechanical engineering and data science are high-demand fields. When we can provide graduates in these fields who want to live and work in our region, companies will come, grow and thrive here.”

ECU’s Master of Science in Data Science will be an interdisciplinary program with a focus on health care big data.

ECU’s Master of Science in Data Science will be an interdisciplinary program with a focus on health care big data. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

The new BSSE degree will replace the current Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, which the department has offered since 1972. It will apply engineering principles and proven industry practices to enable graduates to design, produce and validate large-scale, high-quality, secure software. Special features of the program include well-balanced coverage of theory and practice, and summerinternship and research experiences.

The BSSE program will recruit high school seniors and community college transfer students who plan to enroll as full-time students. “Society’s demand for fast, accurate and secure computing and software will continue to increase,” said Ploehn. “ECU will provide the computer scientists and software engineers who will meet this demand.”

The MSME degree is a research-oriented program that will focus on two areas — advanced energy systems and mechanics of biomaterials. Advanced energy systems include sustainable and efficient energy systems such as solar, wind and ocean-wave energy. Mechanics of biomaterials centers around the mechanical behavior of biological tissues, as well as materials for medical implants.

Graduates will gain advanced problem-solving and critical thinking skills to serve a wide range of industries and government organizations. This program will cater to those who have completed degrees in engineering, science and health care professions – and are looking for advanced knowledge and research skills needed to advance in their careers.

Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam

Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam

“This (MSME) new degree program aligns with key components of the ECU mission statement, which is to be a national model for student success and public service,” said Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam, an associate dean for CET. “ECU is the only university within the UNC System that offers academic programs in engineering, medicine, dentistry, nursing and allied health on one campus. The MSME program plans to take advantage of these strengths.” ​

The MS in Data Science is an interdisciplinary degree program involving ECU’s departments of computer science, health services and information management, mathematics and biostatistics. Features of the health-care-centric program include theory and practice of data science in the context of medicine and related health care professions, as well as strong industry involvement.

According to Dr. Venkat Gudivada, chair of CET’s Department of Computer Science, the MSDS program will aim to produce data scientists who will be innovators in reducing health care costs and improving quality of care through big data-driven decision making.

“Data science refers to a set of new algorithms and approaches for advancing scientific discoveries and business innovation through big data,” said Gudivada. “The knowledge and skills needed to analyze and interpret big data are quite different from those that are needed for small-scale data sets. Data scientists play a critical role in enabling organizations to improve their products, business processes and services using the data they collect.”

The MSDS program will recruit students with an academic background in computing or other quantitative disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, engineering andepidemiology. Applicants must have a strong undergraduate preparation in mathematical and computational problem-solving. Students from disciplines other than computer science are required to complete two specially designed bridge courses before they begin the program. The program will be delivered using both online and face-to-face instruction. Thirty semester hours are required to earn the degree.

Summer internships and research opportunities will be part of the new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program.

Summer internships and research opportunities will be part of the new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program.

“Our students should be able to progress as high and as far as their ability and motivation will take them,” said Ploehn. “That’s why we’re building more and better graduate and certificate programs, like the new MSME and MSDS degrees.”

All three programs currently are accepting applications.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

Undergraduates share research at event

Ten undergraduate researchers from across the country shared their research projects Aug. 3 at East Carolina University’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, wrapping up the final week of a research-intensive program funded by the National Science Foundation.

The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates, led by ECU’s departments of engineering, kinesiology and physical therapy, hosted students from nine universities to conduct original research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The program, initially funded by a $288,000 grant from the NSF, gives undergraduate students an understanding of how to conduct research and to learn more about graduate school opportunities.

Madeline Pauley’s, left, research topic focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition.

Madeline Pauley’s, left, research topic focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition. (Photos by Matt Smith)

During the 10-week program, students investigated fields ranging from bioengineering to physiology, learning the research process firsthand.

“This was really my first time doing research that was my own project,” said Madeline Pauley, who will graduate this summer from ECU with a degree in exercise physiology. “The program allowed me to decide what I wanted to research. We were guided through the process, but we had a lot of freedom to make our own decisions that you may not get when you’re just volunteering in a lab.”

Pauley’s research focused on plantar fasciitis and the internal structure of the foot in healthy patients and patients suffering from the condition. Joining Pauley from ECU was rising junior Victoria Blackwood. Her research looked at osteoarthritis in post-ACL reconstruction patients and rehabilitation techniques that may limit knee joint pain in patients who have undergone surgery.

“I came to the program with little research experience, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Blackwood said. “In just a short time I’ve realized what goes into conducting research and that I do want to continue participating in research projects in the future.”

•Rising East Carolina University junior Victoria Blackwood, right, shares her research on osteoarthritis in patients who have undergone ACL surgery at the The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates post session at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday.

Rising East Carolina University junior Victoria Blackwood, right, shares her research on osteoarthritis in patients who have undergone ACL surgery at the The Biomedical Engineering in Simulations, Imaging and Modeling Research Experience for Undergraduates post session at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday.

Pauley and Blackwood said that having students from other universities – including the University of Connecticut, Mercer University and Long Beach State University, among others – added to their program experience.

“Our research peers from other universities helped show me my strengths and weaknesses,” Pauley said. “It was interesting to see how we complemented one another. My background is in anatomy and physiology, but most of their backgrounds were in bioengineering and technology. It was eye-opening to learn about their interests and see how researchers can work together to accomplish things.”

Stephanie George, an assistant professor of engineering at ECU, oversees the program with associate professor of kinesiology Zac Domire. George hopes giving undergraduate researchers with varied interests an opportunity to work with one another shows them the importance of multidisciplinary and collaborative research.

“They put a lot of work into it, but they rely on each other a bit because of their diverse expertise,” she said. “We have computer science, engineering and physics majors; there’s a lot of different expertise that they share with one another. We believe at the end of it all they have a better understanding of the research process and gain confidence that they can lead a project and share it with others.”

 

-by Matt Smith, University Communications

ECU takes third in NASA rover challenge

Five College of Engineering and Technology students recently competed and won third place in the 2018 Human Exploration Rover Challenge. The April event, which was held in Huntsville, Alabama, was sponsored by Marshall Space Flight Center and U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

According to a NASA news release, the competition challenged high school and college teams to design, build and test human-powered roving vehicles inspired by the Apollo lunar missions and future exploration missions to the moon, Mars and beyond. This year’s competition challenged teams to complete 14 obstacles and five tasks throughout a half-mile course, with a six-minute supply of “virtual” oxygen.

From left, Morgan Watkins, Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam (advisor), Andrew Grena, Jameson Morris and Evan Diener (sitting). Not pictured: Tanner Guin. (Contributed photos)

From left, Morgan Watkins, Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam (advisor), Andrew Grena, Jameson Morris and Evan Diener (sitting). Not pictured: Tanner Guin. (Contributed photos)

ECU competed against 64 colleges and universities in the Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

ECU competed against 63 colleges and universities in the Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

The obstacles simulated the terrain found throughout the solar system, and the tasks challenged teams to collect and return samples, take photographs and plant a flag. Teams had to decide which tasks and obstacles to attempt or bypass before their clock expired.

ECU’s team competed against 63 other universities and colleges. They were the only team to complete the entire obstacle course. The team included juniors Evan Diener, Andrew Grena, Tanner Guin, Jameson Morris and Morgan Watkins. Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam served as the faculty advisor.

“The goal was for these students to take what they learned and apply it to future competitions,” said Abdel-Salam.

Students in the team are members of the college’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The team’s participation in the competition was made possible by the North Carolina Space Grant.

This year marked the second time an ECU team participated in the event.

ECU juniors from the College of Engineering and Technology built a human-powered roving vehicle that had to handle simulated terrain found throughout the solar system.

ECU juniors from the College of Engineering and Technology built a human-powered roving vehicle that had to handle simulated terrain found throughout the solar system.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

Order inducts new engineers

The Department of Engineering recently inducted 73 graduate engineers and three professionals into the Order of the Engineer during its ninth induction ceremony. (Contributed photos)

The Department of Engineering recently inducted 73 graduating engineers and three professionals into the Order of the Engineer during its ninth induction ceremony. (Contributed photos)

The College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Engineering hosted the Ninth Order of the Engineer induction ceremony on May 2. The basic premise for the Order recognizes the obligation engineers have to each other, the profession and the public they serve.

During the presentation, the new engineers were given a ring to wear on their little finger. The ring symbolizes a dedication to upholding honesty, integrity and lessons learned from their predecessors.

“According to tradition, a twisted iron pipe from an early 1900s bridge failure was sliced into rings and worn by engineers to remind them of their solemn responsibilities and the potential consequences of their work,” said Dr. Gene Dixon, professor in the Department of Engineering.

“The ring signifies the wearer is an engineer who is possessed of a publicly-avowed dedication to his profession and the public it serves.”

A graduate joins the Pirate Engineer Link #269.

A graduate joins the Pirate Engineer Link #269.

With this ceremony, 73 graduating students and three professionals joined the Pirate Engineer Link #269. Links are the local sections of the Order, and ECU’s link was established in 2009 after the accreditation of the college’s engineering program.

Sponsors of this year’s induction ceremony included Goldsboro’s SPX Transformers Solutions and Greenville’s Terracon.

Dixon hosted the induction ceremony. Speakers included Jim Hackney, CEO of the Hackney Group, who provided a history of the Order, and Carl Bonner of Terracon, who spoke about the Order’s significance.

Engineer and ECU 2016 alumna Lindsay Staten, currently an electrical engineer with SPX, spoke to the new inductees to close out the ceremony.

New inductees were given a ring that will serve as reminder of responsibilities and consequences of their work.

New inductees were given a ring that will serve as a reminder of responsibilities and consequences of their work.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

Grant leads to historical collaboration between CET, COB

East Carolina University’s College of Engineering and Technology (CET) will collaborate with the College of Business (COB) for a first-of-its-kind project that will integrate product innovation with entrepreneurship.

Students from the College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business will collaborate thanks to a grant.

Students from ECU’s College of Engineering and Technology and College of Business will collaborate and learn how to bring their products to market thanks to a new $27,000 grant. (Photos by Michael Rudd)

This collaboration is possible thanks to a $27,000 faculty grant from the VentureWell, which provides funding, immersive workshops and specialized coaching to student STEM innovators to help them move their inventions into the marketplace.

According to Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala, assistant professor with CET’s Department of Technology Systems, one project objective is to strengthen team building, spur innovation and grow entrepreneurship at ECU and in the rural communities it serves.

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala will lead a team of collaborators.

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala, second from left, will lead a team of collaborators that will help students to innovate and then pitch their products in future competitions. Also pictured: from left, Dr. Carlyle Rogers, ECU’s Office of Technology Transfer; David Mayo, College of Business and Miller School of Entrepreneurship; and Daniel Zuberbier, Joyner Library.

“We’re going to cross-weave two courses from different disciplines to produce teams that are well-versed in both business and technical expertise,” said Agarwala, who is the project’s principal investigator.

Over a three-year period, 200 CET rapid prototyping and COB entrepreneurial students will form 40 teams, with each team having two CET students with three COB students. The teams’ goal is to design and develop real-world products through engineering and entrepreneurship activities, which will ultimately lead to successful and viable ventures.

“Students will create prototypes of products using rapid prototyping and other advanced manufacturing techniques,” said David Mayo, a COB instructor with the Miller School of Entrepreneurship (MSOE) and project co-principal investigator. “The students will also develop business plans around the products and ultimately will present to groups of angel investors, granting agencies or banks.”

“I’m delighted about this VentureWell grant and thankful for the efforts of Ranjeet and David to build this first-of-its-kind CET-COB collaboration,” said Harry Ploehn, CET dean. “Technological innovation is the starting point for much of tomorrow’s successful entrepreneurship, and this grant will give our students a real educational advantage and the possibility of turning great ideas into startup companies.”

Dr. Carlyle Rogers, licensing associate with ECU’s Office of Technology Transfer, and Daniel Zuberbier, education & instructional technology librarian with ECU’s Joyner Library, will serve as collaborators on the VentureWell grant.

Business students Dagi Bayunga and Katy Stotter will work with College of Engineering and Technology students to learn how to launch and market innovations.

Business students Dagi Bayunga, left, and Katy Stotter, will work with College of Engineering and Technology students to learn how to launch and market innovations.

Student teams will work closely with the MSOE, which will provide support for product development and commercialization. The teams will also have access to mentoring at Joyner Library, ECU’s Idea Lab, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, and through the I-Corps @ ECU program.

With the grant, Agarwala, Mayo, MSOE instructors, university and local representatives will have the ability to send teams to apply for stage one of the VentureWell Entrepreneur-Team program. If chosen, teams will have the opportunity to win $5,000 in funding to help them find the right customers and deliver prototypes.

“The Miller School of Entrepreneurship was established to help all ECU students,” said Stan Eakins, COB dean. “This unique collaboration, I hope, will be the first step of many collaborations with many of our colleges. I look forward to seeing the innovation that will come from this project.”

“Who knows what great things may come of this,” added Ploehn.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

ECU students pitch ideas in Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge

First-round voting was recently held for the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, a campus-wide event put on by the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

First-round voting was recently held for the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, a campus-wide event put on by the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Nearly 700 East Carolina University students and faculty cast approximately 2,000 votes in the first round of the inaugural Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge, which recently took place in the sculpture garden between Mendenhall Student Center and the Joyner Library. Fifty-seven student teams pitched their ideas, products or dreams and put them on display during this open-air, tradeshow-style event.

Junior Ze’Ondre Slade, along with partner Klinterica Mitchell, formed one of 57 student teams to participate in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Junior Ze’Ondre Slade, along with partner Klinterica Mitchell, formed one of 57 student teams to participate in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The challenge is the signature business pitch competition sponsored by the College of Business’ Miller School of Entrepreneurship. The entire ECU community was invited to participate, as long as one member of the team was an ECU student. Teams from the College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and Technology, College of Fine Arts and Communication, and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences participated in the event.

Junior Zeondre Slade, a criminal justice major, and junior Klinterica Mitchell, an education major, are co-partners in a venture called SPLASH Learning Center. Both want to combine their passions that started as internships in their hometown of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Their goal is to open a learning-based destination for children that is a safe and secure environment.

“With me working in law, I can use those skills that I have learned throughout my college experience to work in the business,” said Slade.

Sophomore Taylor Hicks entered her existing business, Simple & Sentimental, in this year’s Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. If she wins, that money will go to “serve her clients better.”

Sophomore Taylor Hicks entered her existing business, Simple & Sentimental, in this year’s Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge. If she wins, that money will go to “serve her clients better.”

Twelve teams, six chosen by ECU judges and six chosen from first-round voting, will move on to the second round. From there, five teams will advance to the third and final round and will be paired with individual mentors to help further develop the business concept. The competition concludes in February of 2018 with a total of $20,000 to be split between the first, second and third-round winners.

Making Plans

Taylor Hicks is a sophomore from Winston-Salem. As a freshman in 2016, Hicks started a company called Simple & Sentimental, which provides unique, hand-lettered products. She was an interior design major, but as it began to grow, she switched her major to business administration. The company currently has an Etsy account that has made more than 2,000 sales since opening. Hicks and her company participated in the challenge’s first round, and if she wins the competition, she already has plans for her winnings.

“We would develop a new product line to serve our customers better,” said Hicks. “We figured out what our customers like, and we need to keep going in that direction.”

Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business, attended the challenge’s first round and was very encouraged with what he saw.

College of Business Dean Stan Eakins meets with one of the 57 student teams who participated in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

College of Business Dean Stan Eakins meets with one of the 57 student teams who participated in the Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge.

“The variety of ideas, products and stories that were on hand was incredible,” said Eakins. “I’m glad these ECU students saw firsthand the entrepreneurial spirit that’s alive and well at the university.”

“We had a number of goals we wanted to accomplish with this challenge,” said Dr. Mike Harris, director of the Miller School. “First and foremost, we wanted to give these future entrepreneurs an outlet to get their ideas out there and an opportunity to make those ideas come alive.”

Harris also said that the challenge was a chance to educate ECU about the Miller School of Entrepreneurship and how its resources are available to anyone at the university.

Round two of the challenge will feature five mentors who will choose five teams based on a five-minute pitch and responses to a three-minute Q&A session. The Miller School will mentor a team based on the popular student vote from round one. This round will take place Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5-7 p.m.

According to Harris, there will be another challenge next year.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications

Grant funds energy needs, education at community center

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

The Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Community Center will soon have some help with its electrical needs thanks to the sun, students and faculty in the East Carolina University College of Engineering and Technology, and a Constellation E2 Energy to Educate grant.

CET students partnered with the center to study its needs, equipment, appliances and layout, then conducted an energy audit to calculate the total energy consumption and the rate of energy consumption on a daily and monthly basis, said Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Systems.

“We had originally talked about putting solar panels on the roof,” Agarwala said, but based on the center’s needs, a more portable and adaptable system was chosen.

The $37,500 grant funded the purchase of 18 100-watt solar panels and nine portable power stations. Each power station can be charged from the solar panels and can provide power for anything from charging a cell phone to running a refrigerator.

Deborah Moody, director of LGCC, said the center’s campus includes six buildings, so the flexibility of the portable systems made perfect sense.

“We wanted it to be simple and never have an excuse not to use it,” she said.

The panels and power packs can be used during outdoor events, instead of running extension cords everywhere. They will also allow the center to function during power outages.

“Last year when we had the hurricane, we still had to come in because the community still has needs,” Moody said. “But we didn’t have any power in the building. So this would allow us to charge our laptops and go to work like we usually do.”

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

 

In addition to offsetting daily energy consumption needs, powering events and emergency use, there’s an educational component. The center has STEM-based after-school and summer programs, and the students will be able to learn about topics ranging from energy conservation to converting units of power.

Each power station has multiple AC and DC outlets, as well as a digital display showing energy input and usage. The panels and the power stations can be connected in different combinations depending on specific energy needs.

During a demonstration of the equipment, the students were able to see how much energy was being generated by the solar panels and the impact of shadows, as well as the amount of energy drawn by a charging cell phone.

“It’s exciting to watch the kids light up,” Moody said. “We want to get them excited and interested in these fields to prime them and train them, and then have them grow up and contribute to the community.

“We also want the youth to help us think of other ways to use these to help save energy. And then they’ll become advocates at home with their parents, and tell them, ‘These are things we can do to save energy in the house.’”

The LGCC opened in 2007 and is operated through a partnership between ECU, the City of Greenville and Pitt Community College. Constellation’s E2 Energy to Educate grants fund student projects focusing on energy science, technology and education.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

 

By Jules Norwood

Dept. of Construction Management Gains Reaccreditation

The College’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited for another six years by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). In order to receive reaccreditation, the department had to meet 20 student learning outcomes, which was a new process required by ACCE.

“Previously, the accreditation process was prescriptive-based,” said Dr. Syed Ahmed, department chair. “We, along with a few other universities, were the forerunners of the new outcomes-based approach, and it showed our students are learning what they need to succeed.”

Ahmed said receiving the new accreditation also reflects numerous, positive approaches the department is taking. “Our curriculum is current. Our faculty is qualified. We excel at self assessing. And, our facilities are up-to-date,” he added.

The College of Engineering and Technology's Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Construction Management was recently reaccredited. (Photo by Jay Clark)

The reaccreditation has come at a good time. Ahmed sees the construction industry rebounding after a slump around 2006, which resulted in a drop in enrollment. Today, he sees an increase in enrollment across all universities due to growth in commercial and residential construction.

“The construction industry needs more students like our department is producing,” says Ahmed. “Our employment levels are excellent.”

In the spring of 2017, the department graduated 42 students. Of those students, 88 percent have landed a job. Dr. Ahmed is quick to point out that these students will also have a chance to make an exceptional salary upon graduation from college. Over the past 36 months, 62 percent of starting salaries for those with a bachelor’s degree in construction management have a range of $50,000 – $65,000 (and up). The national average is just over $54,000.

“Our students are serving a critical need for the construction industry,” added Ahmed.

As the construction industry grows, along with the demands for college to produce qualified talent, the need for additional faculty also grows.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Ahmed. “We just need to make sure we can match our high level of student enrollment with the increased need for faculty in the department.”

 

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communication

 

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