A School of Information Studies faculty member has been part of a Project Management Institute (PMI) effort to develop sample course materials and an overall curriculum design for undergraduate project management programs in universities worldwide.

Arthur P. Thomas, associate professor of practice, has been part of the effort for the past two and half years. The work recently was published on the on the PMI website. It is comprised as a series of documents that faculty from any university, in any capacity, can register to download for free. The educational website is contained in the global PMI website, and can be accessed at www.pmiteach.org.   

Thomas fulfilled a role in the project on several levels, he said. He participated in advisory committees to create outlines of the materials, and was part of a core committee that developed learning outcomes for the curriculum’s 30 knowledge modules. Those four committee members then jointly wrote all the learning outcomes. The professor also was part of the committee that defined the entire text of the 30 knowledge modules and the sample courses. Additionally, he assisted the executive sponsors and directors in finalizing the text of the document chapters. Thomas personally wrote all of Chapter II-5, as well. It consists of a series of problem cases for the sample introductory project management course. The professor also will be assisting PMI in further promotion of the site and materials.

The materials are suitable for any foundational program in Project Management, undergraduate or graduate, Thomas said, and the wording and concepts were chosen to be pertinent within a worldwide context “so that these could truly be a global set of recommended starting points for a project management curriculum.”

The discipline of project management is one that is growing geometrically in today’s world, Thomas said, and the demand for people with project management skills has been rising rapidly because the skills are applicable to so many different fields. It’s a profession that crosses a number of different specialty areas, he said. The iSchool is familiar with systems projects that have to do with software and hardware, and most famous for the project management uses are the disciplinies of architecture, construction, and engineering, the professor observed. Other fields make use of the skills too, such as general operations, product development, and events management. “All those things are borrowing from the central theme of how to go through a step-by-step procedure to result in some success,” he noted. Because the field deals with step-by-step solutions to temporary problems or temporary projects, “the likelihood of completing them successfully lies with the very determined procedure.”

The PMI website calculates that there will be an additional 15.7 million project management roles created by 2020.

The curriculum project was funded by PMI and managed by Vijay Kannabar of Boston University.