Several action plans are currently ongoing to address the areas needing improvement and areas of opportunity cited in the results from the outcomes assessment instruments listed above. These include:
Curriculum – While the implementation of the major changes has now been largely accomplished, ongoing revisions to the curriculum always are being considered by the department’s Curriculum Committee. Minor changes to prerequisites and other requirements are being weighed for the next catalog cycle.
Summer School – Changes to how Cal Poly is conducting Summer School offerings have provided the opportunity to propose a more active use of summer courses to enhance year around education that will benefit both transfer students and native Freshmen. It currently is difficult for transfers to complete all the graduation requirements in two years after completion of their Community College programs. Utilizing Summer School provides opportunities to allow this group of students to complete their requirements on time and graduate with their peers. Also, by using summer offerings during their degree program, the department is working on a plan to offer a three-year Bachelor’s degree program allowing a cohort of native Freshmen to graduate a year earlier than originally planned. Both initiatives are supported by employers and the Industry Advisory Committee as a means to address the current shortage of graduates into the strong California market.
Senior Projects – CM faculty now are working on major revisions to the Senior Project requirement for the department that has replaced the former requirement for a capstone course. These individual and small group independent projects have long been a staple of Cal Poly undergraduate education and this initiative will put the department back in step with the rest of campus and provide students with opportunities to explore individual areas of interest.
International Education – The department has provided the opportunity for a group of CM students to study abroad every summer for the past 12 years with departmental faculty teaching required CM coursework in either Prague or London. Curriculum changes have altered the courses that can be taken overseas and additional opportunities may now be available in Singapore and South Korea. A task force of interested faculty members is discussing these implications.
Sustainability – As a direct result of the reported disparity between student interest in sustainability and their reported lack of success in this area, the department introduced a new course – CM 317, Sustainability and the Built Environment – during the summer of 2013. This course, which is taught completely online, also serves as a significant introduction to this alternative course delivery approach.
Co-operative Education – As cited above, although the large majority of CM students complete an internship experience, an equally large number avoid the department’s co-op program which offers academic credit for work experience. Data from several assessment instruments indicate that this is due to the students wanting to avoid the additional tuition expense associated with co-op. The department has named a new Co-op Director and has initiated a Co-op Scholarship Program to offset this added cost and to encourage more students to pursue this option.
The single most important example of the implementation of significant change resulting from these outcomes assessment data is the new curriculum implemented in 2009 (see Appendix D of the ACCE Self-Study). This curriculum replaced approximately 75% of the curriculum outlined in the 2008 Self Study and was the result of information gathered through many of the assessment instruments cited in this Section. As the outcome of a quality assessment process that spanned a six-year period of planning, testing, debating, and collaborating on the part of the CM faculty, students, alumni, and Industry Advisory Committee, the new curriculum was fully implemented during the 2009-2010 academic year.
More recently, as a result of input from many of these same sources but especially based on data from the Graduating Senior Forum, a more minor revision to this curriculum was prepared and was implemented in the fall of 2013. These changes reduced the total number of quarter hours required to graduate from 198 to 189 and realigned the sequence of some of the required courses.
As the action plans described above continue to be put into place, additional implementation strategies will be deployed. This will certainly be the result of the formal departmental Strategic Plan that is now being developed in alignment with the College Strategic Plan as described at the beginning of this Section.
Program Goal #1:
Demonstrate a readiness and ability to perform in the construction industry.
Generally the scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students are satisfactorily ready and prepared to perform in the construction industry. However, in the Employer survey, Cal Poly students scored a 3.53 for this important goal. Although the score indicates a well-prepared graduate, it was the lowest of all 6 goal scores.
Although our students are highly encouraged to participate in a full time internship for at least one full quarter before they graduate - and almost all CM students comply with this recommendation - we have initiated a more organized co-operative education program in an effort to strengthen our students’ readiness even more. We believe this is an important part of the students’ education and have strengthened our efforts to facilitate our students’ readiness for the industry upon graduation. These scores will be correlated with specific course assessments to determine what other actions might be needed in this area.
Program Goal #2:
Demonstrate an ability to apply problem-solving skills and integrate technical knowledge.
The scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students possess a satisfactory ability to solve problems and integrate technical knowledge. With a score of 3.69 on the Employer Survey, Cal Poly CM students are close to exceeding expectations in this area. However, we believe that the integration of basic CM skills with real industry problem solving, coupled with the technical resources and opportunities to practice construction management from a holistic perspective, will improve this score.
Program Goal #3:
Demonstrate an ability to participate successfully within an interdisciplinary team environment.
The scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students possess a satisfactory ability to participate successfully within an interdisciplinary team environment. Cal Poly CM students received the second highest score on this goal at 3.78 on the Employer survey. This is an important accomplishment. This goal directly correlates with a major goal of the college and the university. We also have been advised by our Employer Surveys and the companies that recruit at Cal Poly that this ability is of the utmost importance to success in today’s construction environment. We believe that our efforts to create opportunities for more interdisciplinary collaboration and course integration have had a direct impact on this score.
Program Goal #4:
Demonstrate an understanding of professional behavior, standards, and leadership attributes.
The scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students possess a more than satisfactory understanding of professional behavior, standards, and leadership attributes. Cal Poly CM graduates received a score of 3.84 on the Employer Survey—the highest score of all 6 goals. Professionalism and leadership are paramount to long-term success in the construction industry. We believe that our intensive industry engagement – through field trips, guest lecturers, and our in-house recruiting environment – all support this important goal, as well as our faculty who are highly experienced in the construction profession themselves.
Program Goal #5:
Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and written, and professionally present ideas.
The scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students possess a satisfactory ability to communicate effectively, both orally and written, and can professionally present ideas. The Employer Survey indicates a score of 3.62 on average for this goal. This exceeds basic preparedness and pushes toward preparedness beyond expectations. We believe that we have made good strides in this area, but know that it is an extremely important part of professional construction education. Our advisory committee and industry recruiters all have stressed communication as a primary success factor regarding relationship management. We are looking to improve this ability through integration as well. We are in discussions with the university and the English department to integrate the required writing courses with a freshman or sophomore CM course to add relevancy to the topic.
Program Goal #6:
Demonstrate a propensity for life-long learning and service to the industry and community at large.
The scores received through both the senior surveys and employer surveys indicate that Cal Poly CM students demonstrate a propensity for life-long learning and service to the industry and community at large. The Employer Survey score for this goal was 3.63. Again, this score indicates that Cal Poly CM students express this propensity beyond expectations. We believe that participation in extracurricular activities, such as student clubs, professional associations, and volunteer participation in the community, all support this goal. We make every effort to expose students to as many extracurricular opportunities as possible and will continue to do so. Our self-initiated summer study abroad programs also have aided and supported this goal.