Strategic Plan 2015-2025
To transform the LSU Construction Management Department into a nationally renowned School of Construction
Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management Mission - To prepare our graduates with the ability to lead and problem-solve, advance construction knowledge through research and scholarly activities, and serve the communities through outreach…all in partnership with industry.
Unit Head 2019 Summary for the Bert S. Department of Construction Management - C.W. Berryman
Current State of the Department
Once again, we had the largest incoming freshman class ever while graduating the largest number of students in Department history. During the AY 2018-2019 there were over 975 student enrolled in CM degree programs. During that same time frame, there were 321 students that graduated from one of the CM programs. Our Master of Science in Construction Management (MSCM) online program continues to grow as well as the Post Baccalaureate Certificate (CCM) program. These programs were identified by LSU Online as having one of the highest growth rate as compared to other online programs at LSU. In addition, the US News and World report ranked the MSCM as a Best Online Program for 2016, 2017, and 2108. As for quality of students, it has drastically improved over the years as students are now, in 2019, exceeding the national average scores when they take the American Institute of Constructors Level I fundamentals exam.
During the 2018 assessment cycle, LSU completed it's program review of the MSCM and the BSCM. They had two recommendations:
- Recommendation 1: The department should incorporate in its annual strategic planning report (SPAR) a discussion of the steps it has taken to address the recommendations from its last accreditation review, until all recommendations are resolved. Any relevant follow-up reports to the accrediting agency should also be included as an attachment(s) in the SPAR.
- Recommendation 2: The department should continue its efforts to enhance student assessment of learning, including a review of student outcomes and effectiveness of assessment methods.
As a result, two Action items were developed and placed in the Department's Strategic Plan under Goal - 2.0 Educate the Workforce of Tomorrow. The Actions were updated as follows: Action Item 1: Address recommendations from ACCE accreditation visit for BSCM and MSCM (Status - in progress)
The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) found three weaknesses and two concerns as it relates to our MSCM and BSCM programs:
- [MSCM Weakness] "Use of Non‐ Budgeted Funds ‐ While the Visiting Team found that financial
support from the University and construction industry is adequate to enable the program
to achieve its stated purposes, it also found that non‐ budgeted funds are being used
to operate the Department (and thus presumably the CM Master’s Degree Program). While
those interviewed in upper administration are aware of this, the Team was told that
this is also true for other departments within the University due mainly to the shrinking
support from the State of Louisiana which is
currently about 30%."
- Status – As noted in the 2018 assessment cycle, this Weakness has been alleviated and was reported to ACCE.
- [MSCM Weakness] "Industry Advisory Committee ‐ While the Construction Industry Advisory
Council provides very meaningful financial and other similar forms of support to the
Department, and thus Master’s Degree Program, in discussions with Council members
the Visiting Team found that they were not actively involved in an advisory role for
the CM Master’s Degree Program itself as it
relates mainly to such issues as curriculum and research activities."
- Status – As noted in the 2018 assessment cycle, this Weakness has been alleviated and was reported to ACCE.
- [MSCM Concern] "University Support Services ‐ The Visiting Team found that other appropriate
services are available on campus to support the Master’s Degree Program but there
exists challenges at all levels of the institution with the antiquated administrative
computer software systems which appears to be negatively impacting the morale of students,
faculty and staff which, if not
corrected in the near future, may negatively impact the quality of the students’ education."
- Status - This Weakness has been alleviated and was reported to ACCE. LSU has implemented a new software management system called Workday to replace the antiquated Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL) system. Currently, the system is has replaced Human Resources and Financial systems. LSU implemented a new software for graduate admissions called Slate.
- [BSCM Weakness] "Budgeted Funds. Budgeted funds allocated by administration are currently
insufficient to support competitive faculty and staff salaries as well as educational
materials, supplies, and equipment that are necessary for the degree program to achieve
its mission, goals, and objectives. Consequently, the lack of budgeted funds is being
filled by non-recurring funds such as donations from industry and revenue from the
Department's online certificate and graduate programs."
- [BSCM Concern] "Budgeted Funds to Support Program Growth. Budgeted financial resources
are likely not adequate to enable the degree program to achieve its planned growth
and future goals and objectives. Since the time that the Self Study was written, undergraduate
enrollment increased from 592 to 671 students (as shown in the Spring 2017 14-day
enrollment report). The Self Study indicates 10FTE faculty (7 tenure/tenure track
and 3 instructors). These numbers show that the student:faculty ratio has already
increased from 59:1 to 67:1 since Spring 2016. If this trend worsens (i.e., student:faculty
ratios continue to increase) the program will not be able to achieve the goals and
objectives stated in the strategic plan."
- Two temporary instructors and one staff member on soft money were added to the budget thanks to the Turner budget increase. In addition, salary compression was resolved. This kept several faculty from leaving the Department; however, enrollments continue to increase and are continuing to cause higher student:faculty ratios. In the AY 2018-2019, undergraduate BSCM enrollments are now at 754 students with another 128 in the CCM, 63 in the MSCM and 30 in the PhD program. Hiring plans have been given to the Dean’s office. Hiring has continued. To date, the CM Department has 8 tenure track faculty (with one search ongoing) and 6 instructors. Using only the undergraduate enrollment, to meet the college's averages of 35.4 students per faculty, the CM Department would need a total of 20 faculty. To offset, the Department has hired (using soft money and research grants) four adjuncts and two non-tenure track research faculty. (Status – In progress.)
Action Item 2: Enhance student assessment of learning for BSCM and MSCM (Status - in progress)
Construction Management has two different assessment software tools. LSU’s Taskstream is being used a general overarching assessment tool, while the College of Engineering’s ClearPoint software is being used for detailed assessment (20 SLOs required by BSCM accreditation, 10 for MSCM, and 6 for CCM with over 100 total measurements) of the Departments strategic plan and student learning outcomes:
- Task Item: Complete the 2018 SLO assessment in Taskstream. The final analysis will compare the various assessment tools against each other to determine effectiveness. (Status -completed)
- Task Item: The completed detailed assessment in ClearPoint is to be used to assess the general SLOs in Taskstream. Once complete, the ClearPoint PDF files will be uploaded into Taskstream as a backup documentation. Data has been entered every year. Final updates are ongoing. Complete analysis for all CM Degree programs to be completed by June 30th (end of the 2019-2020 academic year. (Status – In progress.)
The CM Department houses three federally funded centers:
- The US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration funded our Industrial Innovation Center (IIC). The mission of the IIC is to work with its industry partners to identify specific technological needs among three technology user groups: industrial contractors, plant operators, and workforce training. The Center will establish an innovation think tank to facilitate identifying technology needs of industry and finding innovative solutions.
- The US Department of Energy, funded the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC). The IAC’s mission is to provide free assessments and improvement recommendations on energy efficiency, productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness to small and medium-sized enterprises; and to educate and train engineering students with applied energy and manufacturing-related skills. The Center will leverage existing industry, governmental partners and small & medium sized manufacturers in Louisiana (in particular in remote and economically disadvantaged communities) to provide its assessment services to address the need of operational improvement.
- A large consortium of universities led by LSU was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a regional transportation research center. The Transportation Consortium of South-Central States, or Tran-SET, focuses on improving transportation infrastructure through the use of innovative materials and technology. It supports all phases of research, technology transfer, workforce development and outreach activities of emerging technologies that can solve transportation challenges in the region.
To date there are over 80 active research grants and subgrants within the CM Department totaling more than $2.6 million annually...or 7% of the total sponsored program awards in the College of Engineering. In comparison, the tenure/tenure track faculty produce almost $323k of research each on average as compare to the College of Engineering average of $292k.
The faculty work load has increased significantly due to increased research grant funding and increased enrollments (based on 2017-2018 LSU Budget and Planning metric):
- Research expenditures per tenure/tenure track faculty: CoE- $185,785 vs CM - $232,322
- Majors per total Faculty: CoE – 35.4 vs CM – 63.0 (LSU excludes CM PhDs as they are under Engineering Science)
- Student Credit Hours per Total Faculty: CoE – 664.3 vs CM – 1,988
- Degree per Total Faculty: CoE – 8.4 vs CM – 21.2
In spite of the low faculty numbers, on average, the Department has the highest teaching load in the college (3x) and the highest number of annual research dollars per faculty. As anyone can attest, the CM faculty are among the hardest working group in the college...but this pace cannot be sustained without bringing in more faculty to assist with the teaching and research load. It will be difficult to achieve all of our initiatives if the faculty count remains the same.
Initiatives for 2020
- Begin the search for new faculty (approved; hiring in progress).
- Obtain approval for a PhD in Construction Management (in progress; full proposal at the Board of Regents)
- Integrate BIM and sustainable courses in the curriculum by the end of the year. (in progress)
- Development of a School of Construction Management that can incorporate all academic programs and research centers (in progress)
- Expand matriculation agreements with community colleges (not started)
Completed Initiatives in 2019
- Update all alumni contact information by year's end. (completed)
- Create an online Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Facilities Management - proposal scheduled for September 2019. (completed)
- Finish the development of a 4-year BSCM to MBA by the end of the year. (completed)
- Develop dual degree program BSCM and BS in Entrepreneurship with the Business College by December 2018. (completed)
- Develop LSU Online BSCM program with an October 2019 launch date. (completed)