Service Learning

Cal Poly Community Based Learning

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Service Learning in Construction Management

Phil Barlow

Course Summary
You can find the two main goals of the course in the title.  We want the students to gain from the hands-on experience of a local community “Service” project which they have a vested interest in.  We also want to expose the students to the entire construction process from inception to completion; “Learning” and applying all the steps involved in any construction project.  The construction process is essentially the same whether the project is a high-rise office building or a handicap ramp.   The blending of Cal Poly’s Construction Management discipline with community service based learning is a wonderful opportunity to achieve the goals of both.  There are many home owners in the San Luis Obispo community who are in need of assistance.  Many of our citizens (seniors, low-income, or handicapped) find upgrading and maintaining their homes to be an insurmountable task.  CM 400 – Service Learning simulates the real life construction process, taking the students from the project inception, through the design, preliminary activities, construction, and completion of a real construction project.  The students will be exposed to initial client meetings, project design, code review, contract documents, permit process,  risk analyses, safety plans, estimating, scheduling, procuring materials, job tracking, jobsite productivity, construction, and the close-out process.  This class reinforces almost every core topic covered in the Construction Management curriculum.  We are simply applying these activities and process to a local community service project.

Course Benefits
The students will directly benefit from a real life hands-on construction experience in line with Cal Poly’s “learn-by-doing” dictum.  The students will also have the opportunity to increase their teamwork and leadership skills while giving back to the community in which they live.  Four families in need of construction service assistance will benefit from the student’s efforts.

Course Results
Spring quarter 2008 is the first time this class will be taught.  We are targeting four homes in the San Luis Obispo area.  We hope to be successful with the help of the Construction Management Department, the EOC, and the project sponsors.  We anticipate offering this course every Spring quarter.

Company Sponsors
Project funding is provided by generous donations from; Clark Construction, Opus West Construction Corporation, Sundt Construction, DPR Construction, and The Hanover Company.  The Cal Poly Construction Management Department has strong ties and a long-term relationship with all of these companies. Thanks to all of them for their continued support of the program and the community of San Luis Obispo.


Clark Construction



The Hanover Company


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