Faculty Spotlight: Associate Professor Alan Bugg

Alan Bugg Quito

Associate Professor Alan Bugg is well aware that his students are the future of the construction industry, and he tries to pass on as many important lessons as possible. “I emphasize the fact that upon graduation, our students will be leaders in the industry,” Bugg said. “Especially in the Construction Safety class, I talk about their responsibility as leaders to look after their employees to make sure they have a safe workplace as well as motivate their employees to be safe.” Bugg was promoted to Associate Professor in the McWhorter School of Building Science (BSCI) last fall and was also named Chair of BSCI’s Service Learning Program.

Bugg holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn. Except for two years on active duty and a six-month tour in Iraq, Bugg served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1980 until 2007 while simultaneously working as a civilian for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In 2008, he was assigned as the Area Engineer at Fort Moore (formerly Fort Benning), Georgia, where he was tasked with establishing an office for the construction of a new hospital on base. In the process of establishing the office, he hired a large number of recently graduated engineers. He soon realized that these new hires would benefit from a formal building science education. He approached BSCI with the idea of establishing a program to provide this education that would also allow his employees to work their full-time jobs, and shortly thereafter the Executive Graduate Certificate and Masters Program was born. As a believer in life-long education, Bugg himself completed the Executive Graduate Certificate Programs to earn his Master of Building Construction (MBC) degree in 2009.

After completing the MBC, Bugg transitioned from working for the Corps into full-time teaching at Auburn. He says that his experiences mentoring younger employees in the USACE, along with his years of military service, prepared him to guide students through their academic careers and into the construction field. “I think the breadth of my education does give me a more holistic view of the construction industry,” he stated. “My military background has helped me be a better communicator. I try to emphasize the importance of communication in the construction industry.”

Bugg has helped the MBC program to grow and expand, first in the Southeast and then nationwide. Auburn’s successful and productive relationship with the USACE was solidified after 10 years with the signing of an extended formal collaboration agreement in 2019. The program was eventually extended to the entire U.S. Department of Defense and is now open to the public. Since the program’s inception, over 400 students have earned certificates or master’s degrees.

Having helped to solidify the success of the MBC program, Bugg has now turned his attention to BSCI’s Service Learning program. In addition to Construction Safety and Structures I and II, he teaches Construction Field Lab, the service learning course that is a graduation requirement for every BSCI senior, and also leads in annual service learning trip to Quito, Ecuador. His research focuses on how to improve the quality of Auburn’s service learning courses. He leads multiple competition teams each year and also took a group of students on a study abroad trip to Europe this past spring. “I really enjoy sharing my experiences in the construction industry to prepare our students for success when they graduate,” Bugg said. “Our students are hardworking, focused and smart. I am honored to have a small part in producing awesome graduates who will have a positive impact on the industry in the future.”

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Alan Bugg