Continuous improvement is essential for any program at an institution of higher education to continuously review and adjust our teaching practices to an ever changing world around us. The Department of Building Construction engages in a process that is document in our
Quality Improvement Plan (QIP).
The Building Construction Program is accredited by the American Council for Education (ACCE) , which prescriptively outlines the necessary elements of a plan under Section 9 “Academic Quality Planning Process and Outcome Assessment” of the ACCE Document 103 (July 25, 2021). As defined by the ACCE, outcome assessments shall be conducted through a systematic process of gathering and interpreting information to verify, and potentially improve, that a program is meeting its self-defined goals. The process should support and lead to program enhancement over time. The formulation, evaluation, and review processes for program specific Degree Program Objectives (DPOs) were developed as part of Virginia Tech’s accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
The Department of Building Construction conducts annual surveys of graduates, employers, and industry advisory board members, as evidence of its effectiveness in preparing students to become successful construction practitioners. The assessment tools used to gather, maintain, and ensure compliance data for learning outcomes consists of a set of different surveys, where responses can be merged into a set of tables for further evaluation. The tables are made accessible to the faculty responsible for entering the assessment results. The data sets include the benchmarks set for evaluating each criterion.
Virginia Tech fosters a "Hands-on, Minds-on" approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. This approach to learning has always been the department's philosophy as our students actively transform knowledge to practice through labs and the platform of the integrated studios. The "Integrated Construction Studio (ICS)" course, which is unique among contemporary institutions, is an example of integrative learning. Each semester, the ICS course brings together Construction Engineering and Management Juniors and Seniors and Building Construction sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students (over 130 students) to conduct pre-construction management of a real project. Students within each grade level form teams of three to six members, which are then paired in larger teams of one sophomore team (structural sub-contractors), one junior team (mechanical sub-contractors) and one senior/graduate team (general contractors) each. Teams work together throughout the semester, culminating in a competitive, formal bid for a construction project similar to the bidding process construction companies undertake. The studio environment for the ICS course allows it to be catered to teams and also each individual student.
"During the Department's last accreditation, the Integrated Construction Studio was listed as a strength for the department, based on the auditors' summary".
Our multifaceted graduates will possess a strong educational base and technical competencies combined with the people and communication skills necessary to be successful in the global construction industry of the 21st century. The BC degree options are designed to better equip construction industry professionals with the necessary tools for excellence in all phases of the built environment. The BC curriculum is reviewed annually by the faculty during the summer retreat and periodically by the Industry Advisory Board to ensure it is meeting the needs of the profession and of society.