Christine Fiori is home. And, the department head of Engineering Management Studies and the program director for the Drexel University College of Engineering’s Construction Management program is certainly happy to be there.
After spending 9 years at Virginia Tech, where she most recently served as associate director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Dr. Christine Fiori followed life’s unpredictable path back to Drexel last fall.
Fiori, who received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Drexel’s College of Engineering, didn’t envision herself coming back to her alma mater nearly 2 decades after she left.
“I never even saw myself in academia,” says Fiori, who served in the Air Force and spent time stationed in California and Colorado following graduation. “I had a mentor who told me that I belonged in teaching. He convinced me to apply for a position at Arizona State University.’”
Fiori got the job and taught at ASU until coming back to the east coast to join the Myers-Lawson School of Construction faculty in 2007.
But Fiori, a New Jersey native, missed her family and started seeking an opportunity to move back home to be near her aging parents.
Coincidentally, another dragon was looking to go back home. Fiori’s predecessor at Drexel was looking for an opportunity to return to Blacksburg, New Jersey, leaving a vacancy at just the right time.
“When I heard about this opportunity with construction management, I thought ‘this is absolutely perfect,’” she says.
When she started her position on September 1, 2015, Fiori was greeted with familiar faces—many faculty members who guided her through her own education are still at the College of Engineering—and an impending accreditation visit.
“Getting through the accreditation visit was fun in a weird way because you get a really good sense of how your curriculum is set up. It was a blessing in disguise because I didn’t have a choice. I had to learn,” she says.
With the visit complete, Fiori can turn her head to the future, excited that the accreditation was successful.
“I see a couple of the initiatives that we’re working on really distinguishing Drexel from other programs,” she says, referencing potential plans to make the undergraduate program increasingly digital, refresh the master’s program, and create modules for specific industries. “The scope of this is so broad that it will put us on the map.”
Fiori cites both Drexel’s campus in Philadelphia—a city with robust roots in the construction field—and its sophisticated online programs as factors that make Drexel’s Construction Management program unique.
“What will differentiate us from other programs are the options, online and on-campus,” says Fiori. “Our online courses will be Discovery Channel quality. People will be blown away.”
Perhaps the key advantage lies in the stellar level of instruction.
“All of our faculty members have owned firms and they’re here because they want to bring their experience to students. They’re non-traditional academics, but they know how to teach.”
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Drexel University’s Construction Management program provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the industry, allowing them to explore necessary technical aspects in addition to management and leadership skills.
The program has been growing and developing with the industry since its inception in the early 1970’s. Neither the industry nor the program shows any signs of slowing down, according to Fiori.
“It is expanding so rapidly,” she says of the construction industry. “It’s an international industry that is booming and growing. There are a lot of career opportunities.”
The program is supported by a very proactive industry advisory council (CMAC) comprised of professionals from top national and regional firms.
In addition to the online Master’s in Construction Management, Drexel University offers a variety of additional online degree and certificate programs that may be of interest, including the online Master’s in Project Management, Graduate Certificate in Construction Management, Graduate Certificate in Real Estate, Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Green Construction, and Graduate Certificate in Project Management. For a full list of programs, visit online.drexel.edu.
While coercion brought her to academia, it’s the seemingly little moments that kept her here. Fiori still teaches and is thoroughly invested in her students’ achievements and tribulations.
Former students regularly reach out to share news of their successes and to extend a sometimes belated or unexpected thank you.
“I think that’s what I love about academia and engaging students. It’s moments like these when I realize this is where I want to be.”
EXPLORE PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Drexel University Online partners with over 600 corporations, health systems, school districts, and professional associations across the country, offering employees new opportunities for career advancement at reduced tuition rates while providing employers with a better educated workforce.
In addition to a significant tuition savings, employees or members of partner organizations receive dedicated support from enrollment to graduation, can apply with no application fee, and have access to deferred billing options. These exclusive educational benefits are also applicable to immediate family members. Additional benefits are available for military service members, veterans and their immediate family. ■
For More Information:
For more information on the online MS in Construction Management program at Drexel, visit online.drexel.edu/MCS. Or to see if your company or organization is a partner of Drexel University Online, visit online.drexel.edu/partnerships.
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2017
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