The Pace of Technological Innovation in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Education: Integrating Recent Trends Into the Curricula
Gerber, David J.
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The U.S. AEC industry is faced with the ever-increasing challenge of managing the public and private facilities and infrastructure to support the accomplishment of its economy. The increasing global emphasis on sustainable approaches and the need to increase efficiency and improve cost over the lifecycle of projects, demand new approaches to architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) education. This study was initiated to look for insight into the current educational environment and to provide a baseline for possible solutions to cope with the complexity of the challenge. This paper examined 101 U.S. AEC programs focusing on emerging subject areas of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and sustainability, and reviewed how educational innovations of distance learning, multidisciplinary collaboration, industry collaborations, are incorporated to develop core competencies in those two subject areas. The researchers reviewed and categorized the AEC disciplines based on the respective accrediting bodies of ABET, NAAB, and ACCE, and surveyed the internal factors (e.g., program resources, expertise, etc.) and external factors (e.g., accreditation requirements, sustainability initiatives, etc.) that affect the pedagogical approaches. This study illustrates the challenges incorporating new knowledge areas into constrained curricula and the various approaches that the university programs are undertaking. A comparative analysis also reveals the similarities and differences and specific advantages and disadvantages of particular approaches across the AEC programs. The findings reinforce the notion that there are disparities in these educational programs, which need realignment to develop the workforce of the future that will lead the AEC industry transformations.