CEE 537 Students at the University of Michigan Dive into Construction Management with On-Site Learning Experiences.

These real-world experiences equip students with a deeper understanding of the construction processes and management practices vital to their future roles as engineers.

For students at CEE, learning goes beyond the classroom. Experiential learning is integral to preparing the next generation of engineers to enter the workforce, and students enrolled in CEE 537 had the opportunity to experience that hands-on learning with their class trips to active construction sites. 

Students in CEE 537, “Construction of Buildings” visited two active construction sites as a part of their coursework: the College of Pharmacy building and the Kahn Health Care Pavilion. 

“By observing ongoing construction operations and interacting with industry professionals during the visits, students make meaningful connections between the work occurring on site and the technical content covered in class,” said CEE 537 course instructor David Kelly. 

Students first suited up in hard hats and construction vests to visit the College of Pharmacy site. After pandemic-related delays, the Board of Regents approved the revised schematic design and budget for the College of Pharmacy building in 2022. The 142,000-square-foot building will address the college’s need for a larger, more modern space, with active-learning-style classrooms, laboratories, associated support spaces, faculty and administrative offices, and student-focused areas. The project is expected to provide an average of 116 on-site construction jobs. Construction is scheduled to be completed in fall 2025.

After visiting the College of Pharmacy construction site, students visited the future D. Dan and Betty Kahn Health Care Pavilion, scheduled to open in the fall of 2025. The 12-floor, $920 million facility will include 264 private inpatient rooms, a neurosciences center, and specialty cardiovascular and thoracic care services. It will also feature 20 surgical and three interventional radiology suites.

“I attended the site visit to the Kahn Health Care Pavilion and really enjoyed the opportunity to see an active project directly related to what we were learning in class,” said Construction Engineering and Management student Jenna Bonello. “It was very valuable and interesting to see the project on-site and make connections directly back to concepts we had been introduced to in class.”

During the visits, students interacted with the site construction manager’s professional staff, asked questions, learned about the various building systems, rode the temporary exterior construction hoist to the top floor, and viewed the in-progress construction work. 

“Experiential learning opportunities, such as these visits, expose students to the complexities and dynamics of a construction project that are difficult to fully grasp through traditional pedagogical methods,” said Dr. Kelly. “This bridge between classroom learning and practical application deepens their understanding of construction processes, materials, equipment and management practices.”


Portrait of Mason Hinawi
Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering