Explore UAB

The Construction Engineering Management (CEM) program received a total of 34 new master’s students during the January 6th and January 7th Graduate Orientation.  This was an excellent opportunity for the incoming academics to meet the CEM faculty, staff, and their new classmates, in a convenient virtual setting.

The Boot Camp experience marks the official beginning of a track of study in which students will typically take five semesters of fully online graduate courses to earn a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree with a concentration in CEM.  The plan of study takes 19 months to complete but there is a small percentage of students that opt to fast-track and complete their degree in 12 months. The CEM degree is offered through the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) and the incoming cohort of working professionals who attended the spring 2023 event are pictured above.

This is the 30th formal Boot Camp hosted by CEM since its inception as an online program in 2009.  Since then, CEM has continued to thrive with over 135 active students and 774 alumni. In addition, CEM and the School of Engineering (SoE) have received several prestigious recognitions over the years:

On Friday, everyone at orientation had a chance to learn more about their peers, as students introduced themselves, stated where they are from or are currently located, discussed their current area of employment, and gave three words to describe themselves. This beneficial exercise allows students to immediately connect with their cohort, encourages academic collaboration during the entire program, and promotes professional networking opportunities. Some of the students’ introductions are pictured below:

sculara dye espinal

Students were later asked a question to learn more about their classmates.  The PollEv polling software captured the students’ anonymous responses from their devices, and below are some of their qualitative responses:

What motivates you to pursue a graduate education?

  • “Career advancement
  • “Improve potential earnings”
  • Broaden industry knowledge
  • Furthering my education”
  • “Certifications and credentials”
  • “Better employment opportunities”
  • “Career change”

To help students meet these goals, Boot Camp is structured to give the diverse group of professionals, located throughout the U.S and abroad, a chance to learn about: UAB policies, time management skills, the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), how course content is delivered and received, computer and software requirements, proper communication methods, and online proctored examination procedures.  Polling shows that 93% of the cohort is currently employed, and 7% are in the military, so giving them the tools to successfully balance work, graduate school, and family is huge in helping them achieve their overall goals.

The CEM team also provided students with a handbook that contains the same information covered during Boot Camp, along with some additional university resources to help ensure their academic success.  This information will be a useful reference for each student during their entire UAB academic journey.

smithStudents began Saturday by presenting their live “Icebreaker” presentations, which is just one of several public speeches required during the CEM curriculum.  Polling software shows that 54% of students work in the industry of construction and project management, 7% work as general contractors or subcontractors, 7% work in engineering, 7% work in the field of manufacturing, and 7% are in government positions. The engineering and construction industry relies heavily on outstanding oral communication skills, so this is a very beneficial exercise to help eliminate nervousness and learn how to provide an informative message.

decelleOverall, the live virtual presentations were very powerful, and students correctly implemented the ten essential professional public speaking techniques learned on Friday.

The class was asked another question and the polling software recorded some of their below qualitative responses:

What did you like most about attending the UAB virtual Boot Camp?

  • “I really appreciated the overview of the courses.”
  • “Introducing the expectations for the program.”
  • “Getting to know about everyone’s background.”
  • “Networking with my peers.”
  • “Getting familiar with the equipment and other software programs.”
  • “It was informative and gave me confidence.”
  • “The support and encouragement that was provided”.
  • “The diversity of the class”.
  • “Hearing everyone’s icebreakers”.
  • “The public speaking group exercises.”

In addition, polling software shows that 83% of the cohort, ranging from age 23 through 54, found the experience and its content to be excellent.  Therefore, it is rewarding to see that orientation is perceived as a beneficial event and that the virtual two-day gathering provided the relevant information needed for this diverse group of students to successfully hit the ground running once classes begin.

In the past, CEM has noticed that students who attend Boot Camp usually perform better than those who choose to only watch the recorded archive.  Therefore, CEM faculty and staff were very pleased with the attendance and participation from the new graduate cohort.