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Construction faculty start semester with new certifications, program enhancement

August 16, 2010 12:00AM

S tude

It's an education they can keep building on. "
~ CMCET professor Joe Levens
nts certainly aren't the only ones getting prepared for the school year to begin.

Over the past week, faculty members within the Department of Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technologies have been going through intense training as they prepare for a new semester that will require them to bring more to the classroom than ever before.

This month, some 15+ CMCET professors have become certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), a nationally recognized construction education program that includes curriculums in various trades as well as safety, surveying, and project management. Supported by many large construction companies in the Midwest, certification in the program gives graduates an edge.

"It's an education they can keep building on," said CMCET professor Joe Levens, who presented the certification training to faculty. A former senior vice president for Martin K. Eby Construction in Wichita, Levens saw many employees benefit from the program. "It makes their employability go up. So many programs are built on this foundation. This department has had several discussions over the last couple of years to add it."

The training was made possible by a $400,000 congressionally directed grant that was recently awarded to the College of Technology by the U.S. Department of Education. The money, which was formally granted earlier this year, was in response to PSU's well-received proposals to the state for funding to create a School of Construction.

"This is a program improvement grant, identified to improve our construction program and curriculum," explained Jim Otter, chairman of the department. "Our goal is to expand our program, and this allows us to take a step forward in that direction."

In addition to the NCCER training, the grant provided an extra month of salary to CMCET professors, who came in over the summer to examine current course offerings and address curriculum initiatives. The department has also purchased a Nuclear Density Gauge, a machine that tests the density of objects and substances such as soil. Faculty members will train and be certified on that machine.

For CMCET professor Pat Flynn, the trainings are a welcome addition to what the department already offers to both students and industry, and puts professors on the same page.

"I like that this will enable consistency and continuity between classes," Flynn said. "It's good to know exactly what a student knows - what they learned from someone else before me."

For more information on the grant, contact Otter at or 620-235-6555.

---Pitt State---

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