Linda Thomas, JD, Ph.D., joins Stevens Institute of Technology as Industry Professor and Program Director, Construction Management, Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering in the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science. Thomas spent the last three years, establishing the Construction Management Department at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) in San Diego, serving as its inaugural Chair. Prior to NSAD, Thomas spent 13 years as a Construction Management Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
The National Association of Women in Construction, San Diego Chapter, recently named Thomas the 2012 Executive of the Year and she is the 2012 recipient of the Carol A. Kueker Construction Education Visionary Award by the National Association of Women in Construction Education Foundation.
“We are very excited that Linda has chosen to join us. She has had extraordinary success in all of her past endeavors, and brings a wealth of experience and domain knowledge to this important leadership position. Linda's arrival could not have been timed better, coinciding with our new initiatives in urban resilience and smart cities. Her vision of having Stevens lead the way in the management of complex, mega projects is truly compelling and transformative,” says Michael Bruno, Feiler Chair Professor and Dean, School of Engineering and Science.
Thomas plans to grow the Stevens’ construction management masters program and to establish a stronger focus on mega projects and infrastructure projects.
“In the construction industry, we tend to do the typical commercial and residential projects very well, but we run over budget and over time on large-scale endeavors,” she says. “I want to question that assumption and bring to bear all of Stevens’ academic resources, specifically systems thinking to the problem.”
At Stevens, Thomas has already begun collaborating with the Schools of Systems & Enterprises, and plans are underway for a course in Systems Thinking for Construction Managers. She also plans to bring sophisticated computer applications to the construction management program that allow managers to virtually, digitally build projects before construction, which helps identify potential problem areas beforehand.
Thomas also intends to formulate a strategic plan for more robust outreach and interaction with industry.
“We’re creating an advisory board to help with updating the curriculum and to provide a network for employment of our graduates. This initiative will also give Stevens graduate students an opportunity for practical experience if they so choose, allowing them to work on mega projects in the real world. In addition, planning is underway to convene an industry round table to explore the state of the complex mega project in the construction industry” she says.
Likewise, Thomas will include and involve Stevens alumni, “because they bring excitement and let us know whether we’re teaching what students need to know to be leaders in the industry.”