People often ask me, “What does a construction professional do?” The major duties for a construction professional are to build and maintain the infrastructure system—the centerpiece of sustaining the civilization of human society. From the very beginning, people needed to build shelter to protect themselves from the harsh living environments. With the development of human society, monuments have also been built. Egyptians built the pyramids, the Chinese built the Great Wall, the French built the Eiffel Tower, and Americans built the Hoover Dam. These are just a few examples of the major accomplishments of construction professionals. The construction industry is also the backbone of the economic system, employing millions of people and representing about 8% of the GDP in the United States. Unlike some industries, which can be shipped out overseas, the construction industry has to construct buildings, highways, and bridges on site, which means that construction-related jobs will stay in the United States.
With the advancement of our society, it has become more challenging for the construction industry to continuously support economic development and maintain the quality of our life. To meet these challenges, formal construction education was established after World War II. The first construction program at NDSU was established in the late 1960s. After more than 40 years of development, NDSU now offers several construction programs by the Department of Construction Management and Engineering. The Department, with its state-of-the-art lab facilities and dedicated faculty and staff, offers five degree programs and one graduate certificate program. The Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering is the third oldest ABET accredited degree program in the United States, and the Master of Construction Management program is the first online program in the College of Engineering at NDSU. Students also have the opportunity to study with students in other countries. The Department has a 2+ program with Shandong Jianzhu University in China. Students can also enroll in a summer study abroad course, GO GREEN, and visit Germany. The Construction Department has been enhanced by the faculty research results and the active involvement of faculty members in the construction organizations both in the United States and overseas.
Humans no longer need to construct shelters to protect themselves from the threats of the environment that they live in. Now, the challenge is how to protect the environment from the construction activities. One of the solutions is sustainable construction, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of infrastructure and better utilize energy resources. To promote and achieve sustainable construction, we need the best and brightest students to join the construction profession. The NDSU Construction Programs, with their affordable tuition rates, are designed to educate students with necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to confront the sustainability challenge. Many of young men and women have benefited from NDSU Construction Programs over the last 40 years and become industry leaders both in the United States and overseas. I invite you to look into our programs and see if they fit your personal interests and career goals. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide any assistance.
Yong Bai, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE
Chair and Professor