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The New Department of Civil and Construction Engineering

Recent changes resulted in a revamped unit of the college: the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. This newly combined department will result in long-term benefits for students pursuing degrees in Civil Engineering and Construction and Facilities Management.

This semester has new changes for those intending to work in the civil engineering or construction and facilities management fields. To better provide students with a more comprehensive education, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Construction and Facilities Management program, previously housed in the School of Technology, have combined. The new unit is known as the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering.

Combining the two departments required much thought and planning before execution. Faculty from both programs traveled around the country to consult with other universities already experienced in similar curricula. The curricular and other necessary changes were then submitted to the college a year in advance. Once approved by the college, the proposal moved forward to a university curriculum committee and finally the Board of Trustees. Everyone unanimously voted in approval of the merger.

Students taking measurements in a lab
BYU offers students multiple tools to create and work on projects that replicate real-life experiences in their fields.
Photo by Jaren Wilkey

This new endeavor has naturally resulted in a larger department, containing 26 faculty members and over 800 students pursuing the degrees—making it the second largest department of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering. Although managing a larger number of people will pose some difficulties, Department Chair Norman Jones said he views the growth as an advantage.

“[The committees] felt like it was a good fit,” Jones said, “and we felt like we would be stronger together than we are apart.”

Construction and Facilities Management students will benefit from added technical science courses, ensuring each person understands the basics of engineering science. The courses will also improve students’ depth of knowledge regarding computations, calculations, and programming. On the other hand, Civil Engineering graduates are often recruited for careers in construction and will benefit from greater access to project management courses, getting to learn techniques for scheduling and estimating.

Many BYU graduates have already expressed enthusiasm about the change, as the additional opportunities for training in both fields will increase upcoming graduates' capabilities in the workplace. BYU Marriott School of Business alum Wilford W. Clyde is one of these enthused graduates. As the chairman and CEO of Clyde Companies, Inc., a construction services provider in the Rocky Mountain Region, he understands the importance of gaining experience in both construction management and civil engineering.

When talking about the benefits of the merger, Clyde said, “It’s important that both disciplines have a general understanding, knowledge and respect for each other. They will work closely together throughout their careers and, as a result, be a tremendous asset to the industry. The new BYU Civil and Construction Engineering department will facilitate these opportunities for their graduates.”

Norman Jones, Chair, Department of Civil and Construction Engineering; Michael Jensen, Dean, BYU Engineering; Wilford Clyde, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Companies; Scott Okelberry, President, Sunroc
Left to right: Norman Jones, Chair, Department of Civil and Construction Engineering; Michael Jensen, Dean, BYU Engineering; Wilford Clyde, Chairman and CEO of Clyde Companies; Scott Okelberry, President, Sunroc
Photo by Sawyer Nunley

Clyde Companies, the Wheatley family, and others have shown their support for the new department through generous donations. So far, donations accumulate to over $10 million.

Students, whether pursuing an education in the field of construction management, facilities management, or civil engineering, have entered the fall semester with new opportunities for growth. The outlook for their future is brighter than ever, as the tools for their expertise grows, allowing them to better “go forth to serve.”