By Steve Rizer
The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) has entered into a partnership that it considers “a way to ensure that construction management professionals meet the highest standards in a very competitive industry.”
At the core of the partnership is CMAA’s acceptance into ABET, an accrediting agency for technical education. CMAA thus becomes an ABET member society with lead responsibilities for construction management. As an ABET member society, CMAA will hold seats on the ABET accreditation commissions and have at least one voting representative on the ABET Board of Directors. As the lead society for construction and management, CMAA has the ability to develop program-specific criteria for the construction-management discipline. The organization additionally will be responsible for recruiting and selecting program evaluators to review construction management programs.
“The creation of the CM criteria in ABET will integrate CM programs better into engineering colleges, creating a unified standard that is common throughout the programs in the college,” said Kevin Miller, CM program chairperson at Brigham Young University. “Having a strong industry partner like CMAA, coupled with ABET’s worldwide leadership with accreditation, will enhance the construction-management educational experience for students.”
“CMAA as an association of practitioners is well positioned to define future needs of our industry and guide academia in their response,” said George Lea, chief of Military Branch Engineering and Construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “ABET’s embrace of the opportunity to enhance the professionalism of construction management is very much welcomed.”
Added Milo Riverso, president and chief executive officer of STV Inc.: “Both industry and the academic community have increasingly recognized that the traditional engineering curriculum does not adequately convey critical knowledge and skills underpinning professional CM practice. Likewise, CMAA’s admission into ABET represents another formal recognition of the professionalism of construction management as well as acknowledgement of CMAA as the leading organization defining and serving this profession.”
Former CMAA Chairperson William Van Wagenen, senior vice president of program and construction management at CH2M HILL, sees a potential worldwide impact from the CMAA initiative in ABET. “International countries are increasingly seeking to implement the U.S.-style of construction management, and they are looking to CMAA as the source. Now the organization can have a positive impact on students not only in the [U.S.] but worldwide.”
During the balance of 2013, CMAA will be assembling the committee that will guide the development of accreditation criteria and a model curriculum with the goal of publishing these materials for review next year. The goal is to be prepared to accredit programs ahead of the fall, 2016 academic year. ABET will accept requests to accredit construction management programs immediately under its general (non-program specific) criteria.
“Our goal is to develop a set of specific criteria that will impact the educational experience that students receive and contribute to the quality of professionals in our industry,” CMAA President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce D’Agostino said.
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article contains a transcript of CPW's interview with CMAA Senior Vice President McKeon about this topic and coverage of additional recent developments involving CMAA. To sign up for a membership, click here.