Last month, I attended and spoke at the CITA BIM Gathering in Dublin. During the panel after presentations from Greg Howell, Martin McGrath, Lorraine Brady, Rich dePalma, and me, an educator in the audience made a comment about incorporating BIM into university education. I paraphrase:
Given the process and industry transformation that goes along with BIM implementation, we need to make space in curriculum. We need to lobby NCARB and other accreditation boards to change their academic requirements.I, along with the other speakers, agreed about the need for some change in education to support industry BIM adoption. I couldn't wholeheartedly agree with his comment, though. It wasn't until the plane ride home, when I read New York Times Magazine How to Get a Job with a Philosophy Degree, that I figured out why.
Perhaps we don't need to remove components of the curriculum of architecture, engineering, and construction. Perhaps we need to change how coursework is delivered.
First, industry and academia need to partner to update and define core competencies. I believe that industry context and behaviors, collaboration, and problem-solving should take priority over software. Most students will figure that piece out pretty quickly on their own.
Second, we need to determine how we can change the environment and delivery of education to teach these skills. If progressive institutions can incorporate core career skills like communication and collaboration into Japanese-history courses, we should be able to purposefully do the same with studio and statics. We can use industry techniques, like colocation and pull planning, as educational tactics - something that is already happening in other disciplines.
For our industry, this is more than merely creating job-ready curriculum. In many ways, this is about changing our industry's image, so that it is attractive to smart and creative people. This may be about addressing our workforce shortage.
What do you think needs to happen in AEC education? What needs to change?