Teaching and learning in the 'lean time': researching the issues and opportunities confronting tertiary building education in Australia
Williams, AP, Sher, WD, Simmons, CA & Dosen, A 2008, 'Teaching and learning in the 'lean time': researching the issues and opportunities confronting tertiary building education in Australia', Proceedings of the Australasian Universities Building Educators Association (AUBEA) Conference 2008, Auckland, New Zealand, 9-11 July, Australian Universities Building Education Association, pp. 108-118.
The education of construction and building professionals at Universities is unique as the curricula straddle diverse areas, including building technology, design, law, management and finance. Furthermore, the opportunities for would-be Construction Managers, Quantity and Building Surveyors (CMQSBS) are extensive. In Australia, a buoyant construction industry is currently fuelling high student expectations. A recent KPMG (an Accounting firm) survey (Sher, Brewer, Gajendran & Williams 2007) reported the most significant challenge the industry faces is an increase in demand for qualified practitioners whilst there are decreasing graduates to be found. Currently CMQSBS programmes contribute over 1000 graduates annually, despite this contribution of graduates these disciplines make to the industry there are barriers to be found. For example, these disciplines are often overshadowed by high profile professions such as Architects and Engineers. More significantly there are possible issues facing these disciplines at the instructional level. An Australian Learning and Teaching Council (formally Carrick) grant has provided the opportunity to promote innovation and ‘best practice’ within the CMQSBS disciplines. This research project established at the University of Newcastle is investigating potential issues confronting the CMQSBS disciplines. This paper describes the process that has been undertaken for the study and reports on the preliminary findings from the online survey and qualitative data. Initially, broad issues within the CMQSBS disciplines have been studied and mapped through an online survey administered to full-time academic staff who teach in these professions Australia wide. Following the theme for this years AUBEA conference it will look at current ‘lean time’ influencing university CMQSBS education, these being how student’s time and teaching time influence teaching and learning and how these disciplines are administered Australia wide. The paper concludes by offering some observations of how these disciplines might be improved considering these current issues.