Construction management recognized for ‘Giving Students the Edge’

Story by Natalya Bowen

Using its connections with industry, CSU’s construction management program is always seeking new methods to give students every advantage possible as the future leaders of construction.

The development of specialized “boot camp”-style courses is just one such method of immersing students in the latest technologies used by the construction industry, and this effort was recognized on Nov. 13 at the Associated General Contractors’ Industry Gala and ACE Awards event in Denver. Boot Camps ACE Award 2015 - web large

The CM program received the 2015 Construction Education Challenge Award, a recognition the CM Cares initiative also received in 2013. This award celebrates unique initiatives or innovative programming from construction education programs throughout Colorado. Initiatives that receive the award promote engagement of the construction industry in the education process, preparing students to join the industry after graduation, and making an impact in the local community.

The boot camp courses give students exposure to state-of-the-art software and processes taught by industry experts currently using them in the field. These limited-size, five-week classes focus on identifying and understanding the current practices and applications of specific subject matter. As short-term group study courses, they are dynamic and can easily be adapted as the industry evolves. To date, courses have been offered in estimating, scheduling and building information modeling, or BIM.

“During the BIM boot camp, students get an introduction to advanced BIM/VDC software,” said Chris Boal of Mortenson Construction, an industry instructor for one of the courses. “With these tools the students are asked to produce and visualize work such as site utilization plans, concrete placement drawings, virtual mock-ups and 3D MEP/FP system coordination, and to understand how BIM/VDC affects craft workers in the field. These skillsets are at the forefront of the construction industry today and will give them a leg up on the competition as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

“The boot camps provide the opportunity for our department and our industry to partner in building a CM program of excellence at Colorado State University,” said department head Mostafa Khattab. “The students receive exposure to the current practices in our industry; the department faculty interact with industry professionals on current challenges in the marketplace; and our industry gets to influence and recruit the top students in our program.”

The AGC Industry Gala and ACE Awards celebration is the state’s largest commercial building construction event of the year. It brings together general contractors, specialty contractors, architects, owners and professional firms supporting the industry, key leaders and staff from related associations, legislators and other industry supporters for a night of networking, recognition and celebration.