2011-2012 Annual Report
This year the Department of Construction Management made history by elevating itself to OHL School of Construction. Globally known international construction company Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) named the FIU construction program through a generous gift. OHL School of Construction became the first named school in the history of the college. The dedication took place on March 20, 2012 in the presence of President Mark B. Rosenberg of FIU and Chairman of the OHL Board of Directors Juan-Miguel Villar-Mir. Many dignitaries were present as invited guests including FIU administrators, local construction industry executives, faculty and students of the college.
The School began offering its first overseas MSCM (Masters of Science in Construction Management) in the Dominican Republic in May of this year. Another program is due to begin in Panama in January next year. In addition, a professional MSCM program was launched in August this year. The professional program will be taught on Saturdays at the FIU Pines Center in Broward. The School was successful in getting all of its professional, overseas, and online programs converted into market rate programs.
The Bachelor of Science in Construction Management program is re-accredited by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) for a six year period ending in 2013. The school will be revisited by ACCE in the fall of 2013. The school is preparing for the upcoming visit.
The School currently has 10 fulltime faculty members and employs between 10 to 15 adjunct faculty members every term.
Enrollment dropped this year. The fall 2011 total (undergraduate and graduate) headcount is 443 compared to 546 in fall 2010 indicating a decrease of nearly 19 percent. The graduate fall 2011 enrollment is 123, and the undergraduate enrollment is 320. The decrease is very likely due to the continuing downturn in economy. The School foresees enrollment rising as the economy improves.
The total number of students graduated this year is 138, which is a slight drop from last year’s all-time high of 166 students.
According to latest employment data published by SUS (2010-11 Florida Public University Graduates) the Masters in Construction Management has the highest employment rate in the state when compared to other universities in Florida and the Bachelor degree program in Construction Management has the second highest rate of employment.
OHL School of Construction faculty members were active in publishing their research findings in reputed construction journals and conference proceedings. Collectively, the School faculty published one book, nine journal papers, three research reports and twenty conference proceedings papers.
The school did extremely well again this year in external research funding, thanks to Dr. Yimin Zhu and Dr. Bayraktar. In addition to Dr. Zhu’s ongoing NSF grants, Dr. Bayraktar received a number of grants from the Florida Department of Transportation.
This year the school continued to make noteworthy accomplishments as in the previous years. A team of undergraduate students won the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) 12th annual student chapter Construction Management Competition during the 2012 ABC EdCon and Expo in San Antonio, Texas. FIU also took second place in safety. FIU was one of the 25 teams form colleges and universities across the nation participating in the competition. Our team competed with reputable schools such as Auburn University, Clemson University, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Purdue University, Texas A& M University, Ohio State University, and University of Florida among others. This is the second time FIU has brought home the coveted title of Construction Management Champions. FIU team became champion for the first time in 2006.
The school has been allocated funding for developing its planned Construction Process Laboratory. Work is underway with a targeted completion of December 2012. The laboratory is intended to provide students hands-on demonstrations on real-life construction processes, construction materials, components and their assembly. Half-built walls, steel structural joints and samples of various construction components will be the features of this laboratory.
In addition, the school has a 650 square feet MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) studio on the first floor of the Engineering Center Building. This laboratory is equipped with HVAC, electrical and plumbing appliances/fixtures for demonstration to students, and computer hardware and software for instruction and training.
The School organized its ABC Golf Tournament on March 9, 2012 at the Miami-Melreese Golf Course for raising funds to support the FIU ABC student team for participating in the National Construction Management Championship competition held in San Antonio, Texas.
The School also organized its regularly held Career Expo on February 8, 2012. Eleven major construction companies including ANF, OHL/Arellano, Facchina, Hensel Phelps, Link, Moss, MCM, Skanska, Turner, and Weitz participated.
The School organized the third conference on Construction in Developing Countries in Bangkok, Thailand in July 2012, in collaboration with East Carolina University and Auburn University.
Industry Support Campaign
The historic achievement last year was the transformational gift received from the international construction giant OHL Construction. The multiyear monetary gift in terms of endowment and operational expenses transformed the department into the newly named OHL School of Construction. In addition to this gift, the school received cash donations in the amount of $46,000 from the Industry Advisory Council members. The school has launched a new campaign for naming various facilities and laboratories in the school.
The school organized several programs to keep the industry engaged and supportive. As a result, a number of successful construction companies are now interested in naming the program with significant endowment.
The School will strive towards establishing itself as a research intensive program. Hiring of new faculty in strategic areas to increase external research funding will continue to be a priority. Efforts will be made to hire faculty with proven strengths in research and to identify emerging research areas and funding agencies. One new faculty member is joining the School this fall. With five research-active faculty members in the School, we expect to exceed $500,000 in research awards in 2012-2013.
The School will continue its efforts in attracting students from other states and countries as well as from governmental and corporate entities. With the help of the new marketing personnel hired by the College, the School will publish redesigned brochures, program descriptions and other print materials. The website dedicated to the online program will be redesigned to make it attractive and user-friendly. Newsletters will be published on a regular basis beginning this fall. Advertisements will be placed in trade magazines and industry association publications to market the programs. An industry liaison coordinator position was created last year – the School is searching for a suitable person to fill this position. The position will help the School tremendously in its effort to market its programs effectively and to build strong ties with the industry.