A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
April 13, 2006 Volume 36 / Number 7

 

A Concrete Proposal

A new major in Concrete Industry Management (CIM) is being proposed by the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management (ECC). It is the result of a partnership between the concrete industry and CSU, Chico, which will offer students a unique blend of technical and management preparation in a new discipline and will help to meet this industry’s employment demands.

At both the national and local levels, the concrete industry is committed to creating more training programs for interested students. Together, the National CIM Patrons and the local CSU, Chico CIM Patrons groups have pledged funding of approximately $1 million for the next five years. Additional industry support has recently been committed for a total of $1.2 million.

“The CSU, Chico CIM program is heading down the path of success due to the unique synergy of combining our excellent faculty with a broad coalition of industry partners,” said Kristin Cooper Carter, director of the program. “We are excited at the vast opportunities that this program has to offer; our students will be the ultimate benefactors of this partnership.”

Concrete has a long history as a building material, used in various forms since the Roman times. Today, it is a $130 billion industry, with more than 2 million employees, that is getting renewed attention as environmental and resource concerns grow. Innovative technical, environmentally friendly, and design developments are making it even more appealing as a building material, said Tanya Komas, concrete preservation faculty member.

The proposed program is similar to an existing program in Tennessee and will be the only such program in California. No other CSU campus offers a CIM major. Two other programs are being developed: one in Arizona to serve the Southwest, and one in New Jersey to serve the Northeast.

Several other universities were under consideration. CSU, Chico is known for its Application Oriented programs and it’s excellent student competition wins, said Dean Ken Derucher of ECC. “Expertise in the area of concrete technology exists here, as many faculty work in this area. In addition, one of our patrons, Doug Guerrero, with CEMEX, was very familiar with Chico State and its quality programs. We arranged for him to visit the campus. There are many other companies that know us well and that have also become patrons and sponsors.”

The CIM curriculum for CSU, Chico has been adapted to serve the climate, geography, and needs of the West Coast and Northwest regions. Courses that will be developed to meet California’s needs include Sustainability and the Built Environment, Seismic Considerations in Concrete, and Concrete Fixtures and Surfaces (cast countertops, texturing, and staining).

“Other technical fields also face an acute shortage of technical managers,” said Dirk Vanderloop, academic coordinator, CIM Program. “What sets the CIM Program and the concrete industry apart is the cooperation, involvement, and financial support of companies, trade associations, professional associations, and individuals. They can be cutthroat competitors in the marketplace, but are cooperating on this project. I’ve never seen anything like this collaboration in all my years of working with industry.”

“This team developed a proposal and a curriculum that has received praise from both industry and academia,” said Derucher. “I also want to acknowledge the support we got from the National Science Foundation to advance this program and related research projects.”