Conversion to Online Instruction
One of the challenges of 2020 has, of course, been the impact of the COVID-19 virus on teaching. In spring semester 2020, nine out of fifteen classes had to be moved mid-semester from partially or fully classroom delivered to be entirely online. This was achieved with the support of the CCAPS Academic Technology and Design group (ATD) which supported faculty during this rapid transition. ATD continued to work on courses during the summer to make them fully online for fall semester 2020. The transition was considered relatively smooth, with excellent support by the faculty involved.
Course Assessment Data
Assessment data from CMGT courses are automatically gathered during course grading in the Canvas learning management system. Key assignments are identified in each course and assessment results are used to track student progress towards mastery of program outcomes and competencies. Aggregate reports of assessment data allow the program to review and maintain grading standards across the curriculum.
Assessment data from several CMGT courses are entered into the University’s assessment software, CampusLabs, to assist in providing metrics to the University’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission. The process to input data to CampusLabs and its successor is now semiautomated, with data gathered electronically from the University’s online course delivery software, Canvas, to track results from specific assignments, measuring the competencies identified for given outcomes. In addition to University-level reports, CampusLabs allows aggregated assessment data to be reported at course, program, and college levels as well. The Construction Management program is therefore using the CampusLabs tool to support assessment benchmarking and quality improvement with at least three years’ worth of data by the next reaccreditation cycle in 2018. And we have heard that we are breaking ground for the University in this endeavor, led by our OES Director Ms. Christiane Reilly. However, we do expect a minor setback as the University converts to a new course management system starting spring 2018, at which time this data gathering will need to be adjusted.
Heading the largest contingent of students ever in the program, Peter Hilger and Jane Delehanty (HSM) led 25 students from Construction Management, Architecture, Health Services Management, Integrated Behavioral Health, IT Infrastructure, the Carlson School, and the College of Nursing to San Ramon and completed several projects. Perhaps most notable was the collaboration of Health Services Management, Architecture, and Construction Management (along with the Nursing students and Carlson student) on two real projects. The HSM students were advised by Ann Becher-Ingwalsen.
The first was a development proposal for a new Men’s Shelter serving addicted, homeless men to renew purpose in their lives in Palmares; and the second, a facility expansion proposal for a residential and nonresidential day-use facility for the mentally disabled in Santiago. This team composition mirrored real life where a Health Services Manager student would request a proposal from a firm of Architects and Builders, as well as seek business and specialized nursing acumen to complete a project. The projects were both delivered in Spanish to the boards of the organizations.
Photo: The Pura Vida Tour Class of 2020 in front of the Aprosam Facility for the Disabled
ACE Mentorship Program
The ACE Mentorship program is a national program founded in the early 1990s, geared toward mentoring high school students into the industry. In addition, it provides academic scholarships and is widely supported by local industry. In fall 2015, CMGT Faculty Director Peter Hilger, who serves on the Board of the ACE Twin Cities chapter, drafted a 20-week model curriculum for mentors in the program to follow. As part of our program’s outreach we sponsor the ACE mentorship final presentations on the University of Minnesota campus, last hosted in March 2020 just before the pandemic lockdown took place.
Photo: Competing high school students in the ACE finals, University of Minnesota
In 2020, the CCAPS video technology team of Greg Steinke and Jill Zimmerman prepared a video in conjunction with Mortenson Construction focused on ACE students applying for the ACE scholarship. The video features Karli Schmitt, one of our students and a former ACE participant, along with a national scholarship recipient, both of whom worked for Mortenson as interns. The video is now hosted on the ACE Twin Cities YouTube channel on their website.
Construction History Society of America Academic Collaboration
An international organization dedicated to the study of the history of construction, the University of Minnesota Construction Management program supports CHSA with time and talent. Serving on the American organizational board of this British-based group, Peter Hilger continues to organize a CHSA track at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) MN State Convention. Our construction history course, The Construction Industry Through Time and Tomorrow, is still being offered, and early enrollments for fall 2020 appear to setting a record for this course, at over 20 students.
Normally, an annual symposium event is organized every May; due to COVID lockdowns, CHSA instead delivered a webinar entitled Quarata Giorni and Other Tales of Construction History, hosted by Peter Hilger, which attracted a record number of registrants and is expected to become a twice-yearly event.
Upper Midwest Collegiate Construction League: Construct*ium
The University of Minnesota Construction Management program led the initiative to form a collaborative organization not unlike collegiate sports leagues, consisting of the nine collegiate institutions in the Upper Midwest with programs in Construction Management: University of Wisconsin-Stout; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Minnesota State University Moorhead, North Dakota State University; South Dakota State University; Iowa State University; University of Northern Iowa; Dunwoody Institute of Technology; and the University of Minnesota. Further, St. Cloud State University and the South Dakota School of Mines have also joined the League and started to participate in events. In 2015, the Minnesota Construction Association (MCA) moved forward by officially organizing the group, registering the trade name and domain, and launching a website. The MCA’s Academic Outreach Committee is now officially known as Construct*ium.
With activities severely limited, and delaying a planned Spring Leadership program for another year, Construct*ium and the MCA are reworking the collaboration to better serve the programs and connect industry with students.
Photo: The pennants of the Construct*ium League Schools
Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
The Construction Management program is committed to supporting this national organization dedicated to construction management, providing time and talent for Peter Hilger to serve on the Twin City Chapter Board. Students are offered the opportunity to take the CMIT exam upon completion of the Project Management Capstone Course. Eleven students took the extra credit option to take this exam in 2017, and all passed. Peter Hilger is president of the Twin City chapter. He was also awarded the Educator of the Year award from CMAA in 2017.
Design Build Institute of America (DBIA)
The local chapter of the Design Build Institute of America has welcomed our students and faculty into its programs and courses. Ann Johnson continues to serve as the chapter liaison, and students have participated in some monthly program meetings and local construction site tours.
Quality Improvement Plan
The University of Minnesota’s reputation as a premier learning institution is well established, nationally and internationally. The University’s Construction Management program has also acquired an excellent reputation for itself through its commitment to practical, applied instruction. Our program is grounded in current industry practices and technologies. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to the real issues facing construction managers. The program’s Quality Improvement Plan outlines our process for continuous assessment and improvement of the program goals, objectives, curriculum, faculty, and resources. The Quality Improvement represents collaboration with our faculty, staff, program directors, and students. It is updated annually and posted on our website as part of our Annual Report.
The Quality Improvement Plan is provided in Appendix A.
Academic Quality Plan
The Program’s Academic Quality Plan is used to measure the effectiveness of our program and how well we are meeting the program goals and mission. It lists all of our Student Learning Outcomes, along with the measurement tools we use to determine whether students are obtaining each. The Academic Quality Plan is updated annually and available to the public, as it is contained in our Annual Report.
The Academic Quality Plan is provided in Appendix B.