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School of Construction and Design

School of Construction & Design History

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History of Construction Education at the University of Southern Mississippi

The Construction Management program originated in 1957 within the Division of Industrial Arts in the College of Education and Psychology as an Architectural Drafting major at the Mississippi Southern College. Dr. Zed H. Burns, Chairman of the Division of Industrial Arts, initiated the program in response to the need for draftsmen by engineers and architects. 

In 1960, Architectural Design was introduced into the curriculum and taught in six quarters.  In 1962 the program increased the emphasis on architectural design with the addition of three more quarters in Architectural Design, bringing the total to nine. 1966 saw the addition of three courses in building construction; Building Construction 1, Building Construction 2, Building Construction 3, addressing the need of the emerging trends found in Mississippi. 

The name of the program was changed to Architectural Technology in 1967 and three years later, 1970 the degree program was placed under the Department of Industrial and Technical Education and offered courses in Building Construction, Drafting, and Surveying. Many of the graduates of the program were employed by the construction industry and the curriculum continued to develop to meet their needs. Courses in Mechanical and Electrical Systems for buildings were added to the curriculum in 1971 in addition to Professional Practice and Specifications. 

In 1973 the Architecture Technology program surveyed industry to determine their need for programs based in technical education. The technology programs that emerged as a result of the survey were Industrial, Mechanical, Chemical, and Construction. Eighty- two percent of those surveyed stated that they would employ graduates of these programs. The University then formed a Center for Technological Studies in the new College of Science and Technology. 

Building Construction Technology [BCT] first appeared in the 1974-75 catalog as one of the ten "career-oriented" programs of the college. 

In 1976 two new academic departments were formed, the Department of Industrial Technology and the Department of Construction and Architectural Technology. Both departments later became part of the reorganized College of Science and Technology. The shift to construction management was reflected in 1976 when courses the addition of courses that emphasized soft skills and management of construction with Construction Project Management and Construction Planning and Scheduling. Courses in Soil Mechanics and Foundations, together with Concrete and Formwork were added in 1979 increasing the engineering dimension of the degree program. 

In 1988, the Department of Engineering Technology and the Department of Construction and Architectural Engineering Technology were merged to form the School of Engineering Technology. Construction Engineering Technology became one of six programs within the School. 

In 2004, three programs separated from the School of Engineering Technology to form a new School of Construction. They were Architectural Engineering Technology, Construction Engineering Technology, and Industrial Engineering Technology.

In 2006, the Construction Engineering Technology program offered its first online course, AEC 204: Materials & Methods.  Within three years in 2009 the Construction Engineering Technology degree program was the only accredited fully online program of construction and graduated its first online student from that resided in California.  2008 saw the addition of Interior Design program to the School of Construction. 

In 2017, the School was renamed to the School of Construction + Design because two of the three programs are focused on Design and having the AET, ID, and CET programs in one School creates opportunities for collaborative Design-Build. 

In 2018 the School of Construction and Design requested and got approval to change the name of the Construction Engineering Technology to Construction Management better reflecting the curriculum content, the industry needs and where most graduates from the program were entering the employment marketplace.

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