The Future of the Burns School

April 23, 2014

From the Desk of Barbara Jackson, PhD

jackson-barbaraIt has been my distinct honor to become the director of the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate & Construction Management during the year of its 75th anniversary. When I joined the Burns School and the Daniels College of Business last fall, I immediately noticed the pioneering spirit that emanates throughout this campus—one that is unique among business schools and real estate programs. Given our School’s and our College’s long history and strong national reputation, there is no better place to build a leading-edge, market-driven program that will be a trailblazer in the real estate and construction industry.

In the past several months, my team and I have been busy re-visioning the Burns School of the future. Our goal is to produce graduates who are prepared for an industry that has changed dramatically in the years since the 2008 recession. What exactly do today’s real estate and project delivery professionals need to succeed? They must be grounded in the full lifecycle of the built environment, which means understanding the relationships between real estate, project delivery and facilities management. The mission of the Burns School going forward is to take an integrated educational approach to developing and delivering value-added, sustainable business solutions for real estate and the built environment.

Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, Master of Science students in the Burns School will select one of three areas of focus: real estate, integrated project delivery, or property development. We have enhanced our already excellent real estate curriculum and upgraded our construction management curriculum to focus on new industry knowledge in integrated project delivery. Our Bachelor of Science program is moving to a single major: real estate and the built environment. BS students will choose from four concentrations: real estate, property development, construction project management or corporate real estate and facilities management.

With these changes, graduates of the Burns School will be able to deliver value-added real estate solutions. They will be able to lead integrated projects and programs, and will gain a well-rounded education on how the various components of the industry are interconnected and interdependent. The Burns School will be one of the only universities in the country to offer such a holistic, interdisciplinary educational program, equipping graduates with the multi-faceted skillsets and knowledge that have become a prerequisite for professionals in today’s economy.

The real estate industry is highly competitive and has many risks and complexities. There has never been a greater need for integrated problem solving and collaboration. Factors such as sustainability, technology and workplace engagement are top of mind for real estate professionals and customers. The Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate & Construction Management has a unique opportunity to build and grow an innovative program to lead the industry and most importantly, to prepare our students for their future.

Dr. Barbara Jackson is an award-winning, nationally recognized expert, speaker, writer and consultant in the areas of design-build development, integrated project delivery and lean construction. She has consulted with companies and projects across the country, including the post-9/11 Pentagon rebuild, the Panama Canal expansion and many private enterprise ventures. For more information about the transformed Burns MS and BS programs, contact Dr. Jackson at