Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi Wins Prestigious National 'Educator of the Year Award'

Students watch Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi present a powerpoint.
Photo courtesy: Yonatan Weinberg/School of Building Construction


Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi, assistant professor at the School of Building Construction, is the 2018 National Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), Educator of the Year.

In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering, Pishdad-Bozorgi holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech; a Master of Design Studies in Project Management and Real Estate from Harvard University; and a Master of Architecture from the University of Tehran.

She also serves as an academic advisor to the CMAA’s Board of Directors. She will be honored during their National Conference & Trade Show, October 14-16, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The honor emphasizes excellence in teaching and recognizes full-time educators for outstanding professional accomplishments and a commitment to education.

“My aspiration and expertise lie on defining mechanisms, which make stakeholders and activities involved in different phases of a project life cycle— such as design, engineering, construction, and facilities management— harmonious, integrated, and streamlined,” Pishdad-Bozorgi said.

“My diverse educational background has provided me with the breadth and depth of knowledge to not only value the importance of each discipline but also realize the criticality of integrating and streamlining the actors and workflow processes involved in these disciplines to most efficiently deliver and operate our built environment.”

When Pishdad-Bozorgi goes to Las Vegas to receive her award, she'll be curious to see how the city's diverse architecture mirrors American social, cultural, and economic transformations, she said.

"Las Vegas has one of the biggest construction booms (in the country), especially in hospitality, retail, casinos, and restaurants. Currently, one of the key projects under construction is the Vegas Nation Stadium and Convention Center, which is on an aggressive schedule with a target completion date in the summer of 2020."

This project is of particular interest to Pishdad-Bozorgi given her expertise in "flash tracking," which deals with projects on aggressive and tight schedules. Pishdad-Bozorgi’s funded research on flash tracking ($737,183) has been continuously sponsored by different key organizations, such as the Construction Industry Institute (CII), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Federal Highway Administration, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) since 2013.

She has been awarded the 2016 CII Outstanding Researcher Award and the second place 2018 Best Poster Award by the Transportation Research Board standing committee on Construction Management for flash tracking research.

CMAA Educator of the Year candidates can be nominated by any CMAA member, chapter, committee, or a university's students, faculty members, department chairs, and administrators. Nominees must be a full-time faculty member (lecturer, tenured, or faculty appointment). A written nomination includes a full bio of the educator being nominated, specific reasons for the nomination, and a career summary that documents teaching excellence, effectiveness, and evidence of course instruction. They must also include at least three references for a faculty member to be eligible for consideration, and at least one of the references must be from a prior or current student.

Candidates must also demonstrate outstanding leadership and a commitment to the profession, understand the individual needs of students and build on their talents in the A/E/C industry, foster collaborative relationships with both their colleagues and the community, promote innovation and the use of technology, and support creative thinking to solve problems, according to CMAA guidelines.

Pishdad-Bozorgi integrates the latest advanced technologies in her courses. Students in her class are: exposed to the emerging technologies; learn about their subsequent applications in design, construction, and facilities management; discuss how these advanced technologies are transforming traditional practices; and most importantly, get to apply them hands-on to real project examples.

Pishdad-Bozorgi's current research centers on innovative integrated Architecture/Engineering/Construction/Facility Management (AECFM) which pose solutions for a Smart built environment. She specializes in evolving project delivery contracting strategies, such as the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach, Flash Tracking, and trust-building. Her scholarly works also include emerging trends, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), Internet-of-Things (IoT), and Lean Construction.

The CMAA noted Pishdad-Bozorgi is recognized for, “ongoing commitment to promoting and upholding the profession’s highest standards instilling in students a desire to learn and achieve, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.”

“The Construction Management (CM) Standards of Practice, developed by CMAA, guides a range of industry services that define the profession of Construction Management,” said Pishdad-Bozorgi.

"These standards of practice are evolving and include a spectrum of topics including the Code of Professional Ethics, Project Management, Cost Management, Time Management, Quality Management, Contract Administration, Safety Management, Program Management, Sustainability, Risk Management, and Building Information Modeling (BIM).”

Pishdad-Bozorgi has been the recipient of many international, national, and regional awards and recognition for her passion and excellence in research and teaching; and was recently named, Engineering News Record’s (ENR) “Top Young Professional” of the Southeast for 2018, in addition to receiving their national merit as a “Top 20 under 40.”

“It is rewarding to be part of the changes that enhance the quality and experience of people’s lives through the built environment,” Pishdad-Bozorgi said.

“As a professor, the impacts of what we do generate broad and long-lasting impacts; we educate and influence the mindsets and culture of the next generation of professionals and leaders who will build and transform our future built environment.”