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Acquiring Tenure In Engineering Technology

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.55.1 - 4.55.3

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Paper Authors

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John, Jr. Lipscomb

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2275

Acquiring Tenure in Engineering Technology

John W. Lipscomb, Jr.


The process of passing the tenure test in Engineering Technology is often unclear to new faculty members. New faculty members are generally told that a successful tenure program requires a balance of several activities including teaching, research/scholarship, service. However, they do not often hear of the successes and failures of prior colleagues that may illustrate errors in achieving a good balance. Some of the errors during the critical probationary period are; unrealistic expectations of publications, poor student rapport, listening to the wrong people, chasing grant funding, and not becoming specialized. Suggestions to develop an acceptable tenure dossier in time are; start early, get a mentor, develop an area of expertise, be a team player, avoid inefficiency.


Although this is not an historical document, it does include twenty-three years of the writer’s experience at three universities from an instructor to a tenured professor in engineering technology. Lessons from the writers personal effort toward tenure and the successes and failures of colleagues were included in developing the stated opinions. In most universities, tenure involves an expectation of continued employment after a probationary period of acceptable performance. The probationary period, usually six years, generally requires the academic rank of associate professor and proficiency in teaching, research/scholarship, and service. Often a third-year tenure review is used for an early evaluation. Usually, the other tenured faculty and administrators perform the evaluation. After tenure is acquired, performance in teaching, research, and service may influence one’s salary raises but usually not one’s tenure status. Most tenure-track positions require good performance in teaching, research/scholarly activity with much less emphasis on service. A new faculty member may request to see dossiers of successful tenure candidates. The department may not furnish them but the individuals probably will.


Quality teaching is very important and student evaluations are often used to measure it. Consequently, student satisfaction is an important part of acquiring tenure. Most engineering technology faculties want good teachers more than they want good researchers and scholars. A common error for new teachers is setting the academic level of the course to be too easy or too hard. Consequently, getting reactions from students early in the course can be helpful in adjusting the difficulty level. An example comes to mind of a new faculty member who was teaching control systems at too difficult a level. After the first test, the students who did not drop the course began meeting by themselves to work problems and learn the difficult material. The new faculty member became aware of this and started meeting with them. This essentially

Lipscomb, J. J. (1999, June), Acquiring Tenure In Engineering Technology Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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