Nebraska Engineering Fall, 2005
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Online Programs for Engineering Professionals Increase

Mark Harmon & Tim Wentz

The College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is revving up its distance education. Professionals can now earn a construction management certificate or a master’s in engineering with a concentration in engineering management—without stepping on campus.

Like on-campus courses, UNL faculty lead online classes. Through Blackboard™ Course Management Software and the Internet, students gain access to course lectures, discussion boards and their instructors. This anytime-anywhere learning environment allows students to work full-time while preparing for career advancement.

As the latest online option for the College of Engineering, the construction management certificate program was developed as an undergraduate option for construction professionals. “This certificate program gives construction professionals an opportunity to prepare for management-level positions, even when they don’t have time to take classes on Connections campus,” said Tim Wentz, associate professor and interim chair of construction management.

Through a series of five, accelerated 10- week classes, students gain the skills needed to minimize risk at construction sites. Course topics include basic law principals, project safety, estimating and scheduling, ethics and construction productivity. Students may take a few courses or complete the certificate program.

The master of engineering with a concentration in engineering management is a professional practice-oriented advanced degree combining the latest in engineering principles with solid administration and management practice. This nonthesis program allows students to learn in an accelerated format, completing the degree in about 36 months.

Designed for professionals already working in the engineering field, the program covers such topics as organizational structures and development, statistics analysis, risk analysis, economic analysis, project management, process analysis techniques, evaluation procedures, and business theories and practices. Faculty encourage students to use the workplace to apply the principles and theories learned in the classroom. Students in the program also have the option of gaining Six Sigma certification based on real-world application of their knowledge.

Sherrill Ferguson, a 2005 graduate of the program and employee of 3M, decided to pursue a master’s degree to create future opportunities for herself. “I work for a very technically driven company and a graduate program in a technical area was necessary for me to advance and broaden my career opportunities,” she said.

Individuals should have at least one degree in engineering or significant engineering practice and a degree in a related field plus two years of engineering work experience. Additional academic prerequisites may apply. The courses are delivered online in accelerated 10-week periods and taught by faculty in the College of Engineering and College of Business Administration.

The two online programs are coordinated in conjunction with the Office of Extended Education & Outreach. EE&O helps university academic units develop and deliver various masters, doctoral, certificate and specialization programs to students around the world. Additionally, EE&O coordinates the College Independent Study and Independent Study High School programs. Find out more about distance education at UNL at http://extended.unl.edu/

For more information about the Construction Management and Master of Engineering online programs, visit http://www.nuengr. unl.edu.

-Tricia Akerlund and Tina Stokes