Multi-Disciplinary Integration for Design and Construction Freshman

Hatipkarasulu, Canizaro and Murphy, 2012. “Multi-Disciplinary Integration for Design and Construction Freshman: Structural Organization and Challenges.” American Society of Engineering Educators 2012 Annual Conference, Construction Division, San Antonio, TX.  AC - 3764



Professional degree programs including design, architecture, engineering and construction traditionally structure their curricula towards delivering the body of knowledge required by their professions. In the last decade, significant reductions in the credit hours available for discipline specific courses within respective curricula have forced the programs to eliminate a number of electives and multi-disciplinary opportunities. This created further segregation of the disciplines and disconnected majority of the student groups even when they are within the same organizational unit. Considering the fact that the building construction projects include active and continuous collaboration of all of these parties, learning multi-disciplinary strategies is a necessary acumen with which students must graduate in preparation for professional practice. New technologies and project development approaches such as building information modeling is necessitating early and extensive collaboration among the professions. Integrated project delivery methods are maximizing this need for interdisciplinary team production. Feedback from industry representatives and practicing professionals unanimously supports the concept of integration. This paper describes an effort to establish a multi-disciplinary first-year curriculum for design and construction freshman that includes content from three independently accredited programs. The curriculum is structured as a 28-hour required coursework where more than half of the courses are discipline specific. The students are accepted to the university as pre-majors and asked to apply for a major at the completion of the required first year curriculum. As a part of their first year curriculum, the students are exposed to all professional career paths within the built environment disciplines and experience multi-disciplinary content. A detailed discussion of balancing the multi-disciplinary content, university core curriculum challenges, accreditation standard limitations, faculty preparation and assignment challenges, and establishing industry support are included in the paper. The paper also maps a goal of continuing collaboration approach within the disciplines by utilizing several multi-disciplinary courses in second through fourth year coursework.