Construction Engineering Management Emphasis Update from Dean Papajohn

December 22, 2015

2015 has been a great year for the Construction Engineering Management (CEM) emphasis at U of A. Industry support has been strong and student interest is high. This fall the CE381-Construction Management class has the largest enrollment (27 students) since the course started in 2012. Industry input is a vital part of the emphasis, from course objectives, to guest speakers, and site visits. Some highlights from CE381 this fall include:

  • Site visits to Tucson airport air traffic control tower, Silverbell Road, Encantada Apartments, CEMEX, and Empire-CAT.
  • Guest speakers: Eric Cylwik (Sundt)-BIM and VDC, Travis McCarthy (Sundt)- Design-Build, Kevin Boesch (Logan Simpson)-Erosion Control, Jessie Atencio (ADOSH)-Safety, Chuck Gajda (IRS)-QA/QC.
  • A module on quantity take-off, estimating, and mock bid opening: Travis Destacio & Bob Martinez (Granite).
  • Students making bi-weekly observations of local construction sites.
  • Student participation at the APWA conference in Phoenix.
  • Student participation at ATB’s Construction Career Days.

In spring 2015 we offered a course on construction scheduling using P6 software and this spring we are offering a class on construction cost estimating. Each of these courses have been well received by students and industry.

This fall I was brought on as a full-time associate professor of practice to take CEM to the next level. This has been made possible by the gifts from industry, alumni, and friends of the Civil Engineering Department. Additionally, the College of Engineering has provided seed money to help the CEM emphasis become firmly established. Some key goals of the CEM emphasis are to:

  • Keep courses relevant to industry needs.
  • Keep industry involved through guest lectures, site visits, and other opportunities.
  • Coordinate internships and employment of students in the construction industry.
  • Establish a student club relevant to construction.

By fall 2016 the Civil Engineering Department will be offering four construction engineering courses a year that will influence over a hundred students a year. This will provide a great foundation for students pursuing careers in construction and offer practical insights to those students headed for design. These efforts will also have positive outcomes for firms that hire these engineering students. I am excited to be part of developing the CEM emphasis in the Civil Engineering Department at U of A.

To provide stability to the CEM emphasis, the College of Engineer and the Civil Engineering Department are kicking-off an endowment campaign to raise $5 million. This endowment will cover CEM costs including: faculty, teaching assistants, student club and travel to competitions, and resources such as software licenses. Once established, the interest on the endowment will fund the emphasis.

We believe the great education U of A students are receiving in the Civil Engineering Department will only become stronger with the development of the CEM emphasis and the enhanced industry and alumni involvement. Thank you for your interest, support, and enthusiasm for CEM.


Dean Papajohn
Dean Papajohn, P.E.
Associate Professor of Practice
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics


PO Box 210072 • 1209 E. Second Street, Room 206A-1, Tucson, AZ 85721
Tel: 520.621.2266 • Fax: 520.621.2550 •

University of Arizona College of Engineering