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School of Construction builds academic repertoire

October 08, 2007

Construction industry demand for a more educated work force – and more highly trained educators – is driving ASU’s Del E. Webb School of Construction to expand its academic programs.

The school, a part of the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, is now offering a doctoral-degree program in construction management, as well as an online master’s degree program.

The new doctoral program is a response to the need for more university-level construction educators, says Matt Eicher, manager of industry relations for the school.

“Increasingly, faculty positions require a Ph.D.,” he says. “Our program is a way to help establish a pipeline of educators for the country’s 140 or more construction management programs.”

Offering a doctoral degree in construction management also provides a long-term benefit for undergraduate construction education, Eicher says.

“By conducting research, academics in this area will create new knowledge and feed it back into the undergraduate programs,” he says.

The doctoral program is designed to enroll up to 25 students within the first four years. The first student enrolled began studies this semester.

Additional students have applied for the upcoming spring semester.

The online master’s degree program, administered by ASU’s Center for Professional Development, has begun offering studies in construction management and facility management.

The program is a response to a growing number of professionals returning to school to gain specific knowledge, Eicher says. It is endorsed by the Associated General Contractors of America, the nation’s oldest and largest trade association representing the construction industry.

“The online option is feasible for someone who doesn’t intend to go on to get a doctoral degree in construction, but needs the knowledge to advance their careers,” Eicher says.

The school expects to attract at least 40 students to the program initially, he says.

The School of Construction is seeing significant growth in overall enrollment. Freshman enrollment for the current semester has increased to 49 from 30 freshman a year ago.

Female freshman enrollment in the construction school has increased from four last fall to 14 this year – more than three times higher than in any other year.

Much of the success has been attributed to Melissa Luna, the school’s student recruiter. Luna was hired after Del E. Webb alumnus Jeff Ehret, president of the Las Vegas-based PENTA Building Group, donated $200,000 to the construction program in November 2006 to strengthen recruitment efforts.

For more information about the Del E. Webb School of Construction’s doctoral-degree program in construction management, or the online master’s program, contact Avi Wiezel, the graduate program director, at (480) 965-4121 or

Deanna Evans, (480) 965-8382
Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering