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Advisory Board Minutes December 6, 2010

The meeting was held at the Round Rock campus beginning at noon.

Topics links

Changes to prerequisites - Construction Manager certificate - Math recommendations - Cooperative education class - proposed OSHA degree - January voting issues recap -
Enrollment and schedule - Riverside Renovation - Fall 2010 report - Spring 2011 report -
BAAS degree update

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Attending the December 6 meeting:
Industry: Bryan Bomer (Chair), Brad Marshall, Rick Dowden, Tom Serafin
ACC: Warren Heatwole, Brad Boelter, Ray Lorio, Pam Powell, Donnie Thurman, Donna Blumberg

Much of the discussion was on current courses and planned changes to the prerequisites listed in the catalog. Industry members attending the December meeting discussed and agreed with the changes but since a quorum was not present, there was no vote. At the January meeting, a quorum of the Advisory Board needs to vote on the proposed changes (described below). If the Advisory Board approves the changes, BCT will submit them at the ACC Catalog Committee meeting on January 28, 2011.

The 2010-2011 degree plans and courses, course descriptions and the schedule are on the main ACC web site.

Proposed changes to the catalog

Remove prerequisites from introductory classes

Currently two of the four first semester classes (listed below) have one of the other first semester courses as a prerequisite. BCT wants to remove the prerequisites for these classes in the 2011 catalog.

First semester courses:
CNBT 1411 Construction Methods & Materials
CNBT 1402 Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical Systems in Construction
+ CNBT 1413 Concrete I  
+ CRPT 1415 Conventional Wall Systems

+ catalog lists CNBT 1411 as prerequisite

Reasons: Students should be able to take courses sequentially, beginning with all of the first semester hands-on classes before they advanced to any of the more abstract lecture classes. But the catalog indicates that two of the first semester classes have the prerequisite of Construction Methods & Materials (it is not known how these prerequisites were added to the catalog).  Students learn everything they need in these classes and don’t need the Methods & Materials course before the other classes. But counselors outside this department don’t know this and tell students they must complete the Methods and Materials course first.


Retain prerequisites for lecture classes

BCT faculty believe that courses such as Building Codes & Inspections, Blueprint Reading and Estimating should have prerequisites; students who have the four first semester hands-on classes before these courses understand and retain much more of the content of these lecture classes.

Reasons: During the first semester classes students are introduced to construction terminology and get experience in reading relevant blueprints (e.g., floor plans in Conventional Wall Systems, concrete plans in Concrete I). They also get extensive math experience. Instructors teach math to solve for square conditions, for plumb conditions, for level conditions, to calculate quantities of concrete, plywood and other items. All of that gives students a good hands-on understanding of the topics covered in the lecture classes such as Building Codes & Inspections, Blueprint Reading and Estimating.


Construction Manager Certificate proposed restrictions

Prerequisites are consistent throughout the degree and certificates except for the Construction Manager Certificate; every course in this program has a prerequisite. This certificate is designed strictly for students with experience in the construction industry. BCT faculty believe that students with no prior construction background do not have the understanding of the trade jobs and their issues that is needed to be a successful construction manager. The Advisory Board needs to discuss and vote on including the following in the 2011 catalog:

This program is only for experienced construction workers. Each declaring candidate will be assessed prior to being admitted into the program. All advisors are to direct students to the BCT department chair or faculty for interviews and assessment. 

BCT faculty will develop an assessment tool by the Fall 2011 semester.


Mathematics - an ACC requirement

Although math is not required for a degree, ACC requires that students must be “math compliant”, or have a certain level of math skills.  Degree seeking students without prior college courses must take the TCOMP test; if their scores are too low they must take remedial math courses.

Since all of the introductory construction courses include the math needed for construction, BCT faculty believe there is no need for the remedial math courses. Students who are concerned about math are encouraged to take a Natural Science course such as Environmental Geology since it ties in closely with the soil and rock analysis done in the Concrete class. 

It is proposed to change the degree plan semester II entry from “Mathematics” to “Mathematics or Natural Science”.


Cooperative education class proposed changes

The cooperative education, internship class was discussed, including proposed changes for the fall semester and what to call it – WECM (Workforce Education Course Manual) allows 3 different names and each name has a different description. WECM requires at least 128 hours, or one 8-hour day per week for a 16-week semester; this is not enough time for most students.

BCT contacted other schools to learn about their internship programs; several of them dedicate the entire semester to the internship course and don’t allow any other courses to be taken during that semester. A new contract with companies who sponsor interns is needed. To develop this contract, BCT faculty will work with industry and attorneys and also meet the WECM and State prerequisites and requirements.

Industry guest Brad Marshall’s company, Marshall Homes, is an anchor builder in Teserra, the green community being developed by Lake Travis. They are interested in participating in the Cooperative Education program and are talking with BCT about guidelines for that program.  Regarding the focus of the internship, one possibility mentioned is that it could be focused on safety; this could tie in with the OSHA course.


Possible OSHA degree or certificate

A BCT professor is researching the possibility of adding an OSHA associates degree. The University of New Mexico and A&M already have that type of degree, developed in conjunction with the Department of Labor. Potentially the degree courses could transfer to Texas A&M for students who want a 4 year degree.

Attending industry members were interested in this degree; faculty will identify a semester by semester plan for possible approval at January’s meeting.


Proposed changes for discussion and vote at January meeting:

  • Eliminate prerequisites for all introductory classes:
    • CNBT 1411 Construction Methods & Materials (first semester course)
    • CNBT 1413 Concrete I (first semester course)
    • CRPT 1441 Conventional Wall Systems (first semester course)
    • CNBT 1402 Mechanical Plumbing and Electrical (first semester course)
    • CRPT 1441 Conventional Exterior Systems
    • CRPT 1445 Conventional Interior Systems
  • Eliminate prerequisite of CNBT 1411 for CNBT 2417 Green Building. Course instructors: review the course content of to ensure it contains enough information that the Construction Methods & Materials prerequisite is not needed
  • Change degree plan semester II “Mathematics” to “Mathematics or Natural Science”  
  • Construction Management certificate – only accept students who have prior industry experience. BCT faculty to develop an assessment matrix
  • Co-op class:
    • Choose the name from WECM options
    • Develop a contract to use with builders
    • Determine other details such as length, content and if paid or unpaid
  • OSHA degree plan – develop semester by semester class list, discuss and vote.

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Other topics were also discussed.

Program enrollment and schedule report

Understanding the schedule

CNBT 1411 Construction Methods & Materials
C 12/12 25652 Lec 006 RRC 5141 T 8:00 am - 1:20 pm
1 11/12 25860 Lec 007 RRC 2142 T 4:40 pm - 10:00 pm
X 0/12 32052 Lec 004        

The left most column (C, 1, X) indicates

  • if the class is full and closed (C)
  • the number of openings (1)
  • the class has been canceled (X) because of insufficient enrollment

The next column indicates the number of enrolled students / total seats. 11/12 indicates that there are 12 seats and 11 students have enrolled. Complete description of course schedule

Understanding Course Numbers

All ACC courses have 4 digit numbers.

  • The second number shows the number of credit hours: 1301 is 3 credit hours, 1401 is 4 credit hours. One credit hour is 50 minutes, or 5/6 of a clock hour
  • If the 3rd number is a 9 it is a Special Topics course – 1391 is a 3 credit hour special topics course, 1491 is a 4 credit hour Special Topics course. Local needs courses have a 7 in the third position.
  • Standard courses and their numbers are from the Workforce Education Course Manual (WECM). Courses that are not listed in WECM, can be either a Special Needs or Local Interest course. Either of these may eventually become a standard WECM course.


Space Requirements For Classes

The classes have varying space requirements which must be considered when creating the schedule:

  • Some classes are lecture only and require a classroom – e.g., the Estimating I and II, Blueprint Reading, Project Scheduling, Codes and Inspections and Construction Management classes. These are mostly 3 credit hour classes which are taught during the 8 week sessions.
  • Some classes – Methods and Materials, Concrete and several others - require both classroom and lab; these are 16 week courses.
  • The woodworking, cabinet making classes and some special topics classes only require a lab; the lab doubles as a classroom for those courses.

Riverside Renovation Update

The demolition phase of the Riverside remodeling begins in early January, before classes begin. During this renovation, instead of 2 classrooms there is one classroom available during the day (Gateway occupies the other one) and 2 at night, plus the same 2 woodworking labs. There will be fewer classes at Riverside during the renovation and more at Round Rock. So Round Rock will be full of Building Construction students from 8 AM until 10 PM.


Fall Semester 2010 Report  

During the first semester of classes at Round Rock campus, most Building Construction classes are full or nearly so. If the number enrolled is bigger than the total number (e.g., 14/12), that class was overloaded. Only a few courses are overloaded, and overloading is limited to a maximum of 2 students (maximum of 14 per class).

Since the Round Rock campus opened this fall, the number of lab classes at this campus this semester was deliberately limited to 2 plus the concrete class (its lab is outside only) to allow the lab techs and faculty to set up all of the tools and supplies for students and gain experience in teaching the classes in a new environment. The number of lab classes in the spring semester has been increased to 5 or 6.

The first Concrete I class took a grassy area and built the footing and stub walls which the spring Conventional Wall Systems class and future Conventional Exterior Finishing, Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical, and Conventional Interior Finishing classes will use. A fall protection system similar to that at Riverside is being added and will be completed in time for the spring semester students in the Conventional Wall Systems and Conventional Exterior Finishing Systems classes to use when they work above ground.


Spring 2011 enrollment  

Currently (early December) registration for the Spring 2011 semester is still open; registration began in October. At least 70% of the seats have to be filled – at least 8 students enrolled – for classes to “make”. A few classes were overloaded by up to 2 students.

Classes are scheduled for either 16 weeks or one of the two 8 week sessions during the spring and fall semesters. Already, during the first 8 weeks nearly all classes are full and closed. All of the woodworking and cabinet making classes are full. Classes that are required for the AAS Construction Management degree or one of the certificates usually fill first, then the electives. Some classes are required for a certificate and are electives for the AAS degree; a few such as CNBT 2417 Green Building and CRPT 1411 Conventional Roof Systems are strictly electives so they often are the last to make.  Additionally the timing and location may have an impact on the slow registration for the some of the electives.

Number of students

The duplicated head count is 450 students: if one student is taking 3 classes, that student is counted 3 times.


Update on Stephen F Austin State University’s BAAS degree

SFASU’s Dr. Cooper met with interested students in November to discuss their Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sustainable Building degree and will return in the spring to again meet with students. They need 20 students to commit to taking the 4 courses per semester before they will offer this option again starting in the fall 2011. If not enough students apply, they will wait a year to offer the program again.

ACC no longer has its interactive courses option so other ways of teaching the courses with students staying in Austin are being reviewed.


The meeting was adjourned at 1:24 PM.




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