Hands-on learning and service projects associated with The McWhorter School of Building Science date back over 25 years to incorporating local community projects into the Structures III Concrete class under the leadership of Professors Michael Hein and Steve Williams. In recent years, with the addition of the Alison & Jim Gorrie Service Learning Gift and the establishment of the BSCI Field Lab, students have had increased opportunities to participate in local service projects (Auburn/Opelika/Lee County) and international service-learning classes (Quito, Ecuador).
Furthermore, the BSCI curriculum has recently incorporated a major curriculum change to include a required Service Learning class in the form of the senior year BSCI 4360 Construction Field Lab class – Building Science students conduct a service-learning project to integrate all components of the construction process. This class is closely aligned with service learning educational frameworks and involves: hands-on construction work, meeting the communities’ needs, client relations, site safety planning, cost estimating, scheduling, and oral presentations.
BSCI will provide a Service Learning experience in which students will participate in an organized, hands-on, construction service project that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain a broader appreciation of the Built Environment, and an enhanced sense of serving others and civic responsibility.
With the addition of BSCI 4360, the McWhorter School of Building Science is creating a culture of Service Learning within the school and planting the seeds of service to others that will carry into their professional careers and personal lives.