June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
New Engineering Educators
14.293.1 - 14.293.16
Building Academic Vision upon Academic Wealth and Balance: Perspectives from Two Decades down the Road Introduction
New engineering educators (NEE for both singular and plural forms) must integrate with senior engineering educators (SEE for both singular and plural forms) in pursuit of unit, institutional, and career goals. Considering the rapid change and increase in diversity in engineering education, perspectives may vary widely among faculty members and constituents of an academic unit. This can lead to diverse approaches for addressing challenges and opportunities that can leave NEE perplexed, frustrated, and inhibited regarding how to initiate and respond to discussions of such. This may be partially due to random individual-to-individual differences in opinion, but in some cases, may be due more to a predictable variation of viewpoints on a natural “life-cycle” progression of values and perspectives within an evolving career in academia.
In 1986, as a 5th-year NEE, the author wrote/presented the paper “Development, 'Survival', and Retention of Young Engineering Faculty: A Front Line View” 1 at the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference in Arlington, Texas. It detailed the concept of “academic wealth” as the tangible, “bean counting” means for achieving initial success, promotion, tenure, and rewards for NEE, and presented ways to generate it. In 1997, the author presented “Long Term Optimum Strategies for New Engineering Faculty: A View from a Decade down the Road” 2 at the 1997 ASEE Conference in Milwaukee. This detailed the concept of “academic balance”, and compared and contrasted it with “academic wealth”. Academic balance involves optimization of the many competing and sometimes contradictory demands upon a NEE’s time, energy, focus, and resources to achieve equitable distribution of success among institutional, career, and personal goals. It incorporates academic wealth, but goes beyond it to achieve a greater and balanced good that benefits all constituents.
The author offers the current paper to discuss two additional related concepts in the progression of perspectives, namely “academic vision” and “academic impact”. “Academic vision” builds upon “academic wealth” and “academic balance”, and is the panoramic view of what successful engineering, education, and engineering education truly entail, not only in excelling with and balancing tangible nuts-and-bolts details (teaching, research/scholarship, service, professional development, etc.; that is “academic wealth”), but also in less tangible aspects, including truly impactive role modeling, personal service, mentorship, and leadership. This deeper impact distinguishes “academic impact” from the broader “academic wealth”. “Academic vision” involves not only seeing, but assimilating, the big picture of “why” engineering educators do what they do in addition to “how”, with an eye toward lasting value, contribution, and legacy.
The paper will discuss recent trends 3 in engineering education, for example, technology in the classroom, hybridization of curricula, and globalization, with potential to foster misunderstanding and contention between NEE and SEE viewpoints. It will suggest means to
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