Students help build new major

Students on the California Baptist University campus will hear a new acronym while introducing themselves to classmates involved in the school’s newest program.

The chances of finding a student with a Construction Management (CM) major on campus are slim, but the eight students enrolled so far in the program’s first year are pioneers of a new breed of students within the Inland Empire.

“We are the only university in the Inland Empire that’s offering this degree,” Francois Jacobs, associate professor of Construction Management, said.

This fall marked the beginning of the program, which consists of studies in engineering, business and construction.

CBU’s CM program was developed through a private donation given to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that was meant specifically for CBU.

“They gave us money to start a construction management program, because in the Inland Empire, there’s not one university that offered a four-year program in construction management,” Jacobs said.

The CM program is not a new major for universities to carry in the United States, but Jacobs believes that CBU is taking a different approach to the program that will set their students apart.

“What is important to us here at CBU is to teach what it is to be ethical in this industry. Not only can we get someone that is knowledgeable to go and become successful, but our students have a different fiber because they have an understanding of what we teach them here in terms of ethical integration into the workplace,” Jacobs said.

With only three freshman in the CM program, half of the students switched majors to join the untested program. But students are confident that this high risk industry will pay off in the end.

“It’s a job title that can have a financial advantage. It’s a pretty steady salary pay, as far as averages compared to other jobs,” Chase Magdaleno said. “You’re the leader. All the responsibility will be on us. So, there’s a high risk and high reward in this industry.”

The first students to graduate with a degree in Construction Management will not finish for another two years, but some are already participating in internships within the construction industry.

Jacob Shackelford, a junior in the program, is interning with the construction company that is currently working on the business building on the CBU campus.

Jacobs is hoping that in the future, more students from the program will be ready to start internships in the construction industry. The Construction Management department has already been offered internship positions that could not be  filled because students are not yet equipped with the skills needed for the job.

“We had three other companies contact us in the Inland Empire saying that they would like to employ our students with internships,” Jacobs said.

“We were approached. We didn’t even approach them.”

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