Wednesday Afternoon, November 17, 1999:

Meeting with the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture


Our delegation met at an 11/17/99 afternoon meeting with the faculty of Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Attending were Dean Liu Changbin, Associate Professor Liu Yun Yan, four lecturers (Accounting, Real Estate, Marketing, and Economics), and one Ph.D. graduate student. The meeting proceeded with introductions and a brief overview of the history of the Institution. The institution was founded in 1927 and has 3,000 full and part-time students, six departments (Architecture, Civil Engineering, Engineering Management, Mechanical and Electrical, Real Estate, Formation i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Math, etc.) and 8 specialties. The faculty is 250, down from 500 due to a recent reorganization directed by the Ministry of Education.

The attending faculty had a minimum of a Master's degree. All six departments award Undergraduate, Masters, and a few Ph.D. degrees. By 2005 it is projected that 25% of high school graduates will be attending Universities in China. The education system is such that students who complete their course work must pass a uniform national examination. Requirements include four years of study (35 weeks per year) and practical experience consisting of two weeks of on-site practice for sophomores, 3 weeks for juniors, and four weeks, or up to one term, for seniors. The national standards for C.E. Education was recently changed by the Ministry of Education to more closely follow international practice whereby all students take the same courses early on and then specialize in their field of interest (structures, highways, municipal work, etc.)

The admission to the University is based upon a national comprehensive examination. Students identify five institutions they would like to attend. Universities review student exam scores and desires to make their selections. Acceptance to Universities is highly competitive and selective which assumes a high rate of success. Approximately one-third of the incoming students are women as is half of the faculty in the Construction program. Historically, education has been state supported but has changed to a tuition-based system of 2,600 R.M.B. per year. Our host identified a lack of student exchange programs with foreign Universities and a strong desire for their development. Upon graduation, students freely seek professional employment and are aided by companies conducting on-campus recruitment. After graduation students are expected to work for three years and then take a uniform certification exam. In addition, Engineers are required to be re-certified bi-annually. The pay at the faculty is relatively low and they are expected to supplement their income, as well as the University's funding, through research and consulting activities. Additional revenue resources include applying for grants from the State Research Institute, providing training for the certification of professionals, and offering consulting services. Approximately 11% of the faculties time is dedicated to research and 89% to teaching. The construction department of the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture administers a Research Institute that is sponsored by the State. Research topics include macro-construction management systems, risk management of real estate development, and sustainable development.

Our host responded to our inquiry of the source of their international research knowledge by replying that the majority comes directly from the internet, library sources, and graduate students studying abroad. They have not yet introduced web-based education as part of their curriculum. They also stated that American companies wishing to enter the Chinese market should joint venture with local firms to improve their chances of success. They gave examples of international companies that have recently failed due to using their own people and not hiring locals. Forging stronger, joint, relationships in education as well as practice, benefits all concerned.

Notes by Professor Dennis R. Nola


The Beijing Construction Engineering University was founded in 1927. The University has offers degrees in Construction Management and has 8 faculty in this field. The University has 6 departments and 8 specialties. The University also has a training center for Estimating Engineers and Real Estate Marketing.

The education system is set up so that students complete coursework and then pass exams. Work experience is emphasized in addition to school. During their Sophomore year, students must complete 2 weeks of work. In the Junior year they must have 3 weeks and a full term is devoted to working during the Senior year. Thus 1/3 of time spent in school is practical experience of the 35 week total. After graduation, graduates must complete 3 years of work and then they are eligible to take a certification exam.

In the past, the system was more specialized. For example, a student would study for a specific area such as administration, architecture or engineering. Recently it has changed to a more generalized preparation. After coursework, the graduates focus on the specialty of their choice for employment. They then take exams in that field after they have worked for a time. These recent revisions allow more students to be admitted. The work experience also helps students pay for part of their tuition which was totally state funded in the past. In the past, jobs were assigned by the Government. Today, graduates can market themselves. Currently, only about 1/3 of the students in the University are female.

Funding faculty is challenging as the Chinese government moves toward a freer market. Current sources of income for faculty include research funding, delivering lectures and offering consulting services. The Chinese government supports faculty research and the higher the level of research the higher the funding. Instruction level faculty are not required to do as much or as high a level of research as an associate professor.

The University stressed that they want to build exchanges with the US construction industry. Much of the information that they have today comes from the internet, but they have little information about the construction industry on a macro level. They lecturers added that they will help in job placement and in making connections with firms interested in joint ventures in Chinese firms. The lecturers noted that joint ventures are advantageous because the firms who have failed in business in China have too much overhead because they did not hire local personnel.

Notes by Professor Dr. Carl Egan


 Chinese attendees at the meeting

Professor Liu Changbin, Dean of the Department of Management Engineering
Dr. Liu Yun Yan, Associate Professor, Department of Construction Management and Engineering
Dr. Yang Tongli, Professor of Civil Engineering
Professor Liu Rongyan
Mr. Zhang Zhao, Lecturer
Mr. Fan Yu Hong, Lecturer


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