Seeing the structure

The College of Technology and Computing and the Department of Construction Technology presented their proposal to create a new Bachelor of Arts program to the Board of Trustees on Nov. 13.

The creation of a new BA degree in Construction Management has been a focus for the last two years as Utah Valley University has seen a gradual decline in its enrollment rates for trade-based curriculum.

With the increasing competition in the community with the emergence of Applied Technology Centers and employers offering on-the-job training, Utah Valley University has struggled to maintain enrollment numbers in many of its trade-based focuses.

As the number of ways to obtain trade certification have increased outside of a university, students have simply stopped enrolling. A degree in construction management will focus on project and people management as well as budget analysis and business operations.

“We are elevating the trades,” said Barry Hallsted, Department Chair of Construction Technology, in response to the idea that UVU is getting rid of trades. “We have raised the bar and are better preparing our students.” The focus of the Construction Management degree encompasses more than just the trade itself, teaching the skills necessary to be leaders in the field of construction.

In addition to proposing the new degree, two courses were recommended to be discontinued. The two courses are the AAS Degree in Welding Technology and the AAS degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology. In both courses, the primary reason for the recommendation was due to a lack of enrollment.

According to the proposal, in 2006 both programs suffered “critically low” enrollment, causing first year courses to be cancelled. Since then, enrollment has not rebounded despite efforts to increase community interests. In contrast, the new construction management degree already has 45 students enrolled, without the degree being formally approved. Early expectations are to have the number of enrolled students surpass 200.

Before submitting their proposal, the Construction Technology department surveyed 128 industry-leading companies and found that there certainly is a need for trade-skilled workers. However, market needs are changing. The construction management degree will have students graduate with more than the “how to” but also the “why,” better equipping themselves to be project managers, superintendents and industry leaders, said Hallsted.

The Board of Trustees overwhelmingly supported the proposal, which will be sent to the Board of Regents to be approved before the construction management degree is officially offered at UVU. As is normal practice, accreditation for the program will not occur until the first class graduates.

The construction management degree is currently an open enrollment program allowing any student to register. However, to complete the degrees, several of the advanced level classes require taking certain mathematics and accounting courses.

Students who do complete a trade certification or another on-the-job training program can apply that time toward completing a degree in construction management. Students are still highly encouraged to learn the skills of the trades by working in internships and other related fieldwork.

The addition of the new degree will provide students with additional skills, allowing them to see beyond the blueprint.

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