Grad construction program is one of first in U.S. accredited by ACCE

Joe Horlen

Joe Horlen

Sarel Lavy

Sarel Lavy

The Master of Science in Construction Management program at Texas A&M University is one of the world's first graduate programs to earn accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education.

Acting on recommendations from visiting accreditation teams composed of construction educators and industry professionals, the ACCE Board of Trustees approved its first ever graduate-level accreditations last July for the construction management programs at Texas A&M and Clemson universities.

“We are very proud to offer one of the first graduate construction programs in the U.S. to earn ACCE accreditation,” said Joe Horlen, head of the Texas A&M Department of Construction Science, which has also offered an accredited undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Science in Construction Science, since 1978.

“The accreditation of our graduate and undergraduate programs," he said, "evidence the quality of our curriculum and affirms what the construction industry in the state of Texas has told us about the value of our students, faculty and staff."

The ACCE is a leading global advocate and accrediting agency for quality construction education programs throughout North America and Australia. It has accredited more than 80 undergraduate construction, construction science, construction management, and construction technology programs.

"This is a historic moment for our graduate program," said Sarel Lavy, associate professor of construction science at Texas A&M and MSMC coordinator.

“The ACCE accreditation puts our students at the epicenter of advanced construction education in local, national and international arenas,” said Lavy. “Though we already attract students of the highest caliber, with accreditation we anticipate increased competition for program admission."

The accreditation process began last November, when the department submitted a self-evaluation study to the ACCE. During the spring 2012 semester, a team selected by the ACCE visited with Texas A&M construction management students, faculty, staff and construction industry representatives.

They conducted a rigorous, comprehensive evaluation of the program's stated goals and objectives and compliance with ACCE criteria and submitted their recommendations to the board, which granted the accreditation.

“The construction management master’s program at Texas A&M has been on the leading edge for years,” said Bob Flowers, business development director for J.E. Dunn Construction’s Healthcare Construction Group and vice president of the department’s Construction Industry Advisory Council, who served as the department's non-voting industry observer during the ACCE accreditation visit. “The recent accreditation," he said, "is proof positive.”

Adding significance of the achievement, Flowers said, was the ease with which the well-established construction management curriculum withstood the scrutiny of the team, which was using newly developed ACCE standards to evaluate the program.

"The construction science faculty never had a book of rules, so to speak, to refer to as they developed this program," he said, "They developed it based upon logic, experience and suggestions from the industry. And, as it turned out, no book of rules was needed."

Not resting on his laurels, construction management program coordinator Lavy said work is already under way to "enrich the graduate program and take it to the next level of excellence."

"We will do our best," said Horlen, "to continue developing and improving the quality of the product we provide to our students, the industry and the public."

posted August 14, 2012