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Career Trajectories In Engineering Education – Where Are They Now?

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Assessment Issues I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.290.1 - 9.290.20



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Paper Authors

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Tyler Cummings-Bond

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Robin Adams

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

Session 3230

Career trajectories in engineering education – Where are they now?

Robin S. Adams, Tyler Cummings-Bond University of Washington Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE)

As part of the newly funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering (CAEE) we are developing year long Engineering Education Institutes to build greater capacity in the scholarship of engineering teaching and learning. Although the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) have targeted building capacity as a top goal, the engineering education community is well aware of the challenges of such a pursuit1. Of major concern are hiring, tenure, and promotion policies for the collection of graduate students, post-doctoral students and tenure-track faculty who are actively contributing to the scholarship of engineering education.

A critical element in the design of the Institutes is identifying the challenges and necessary resources for supporting future leaders in engineering education. There is a broad research base to draw from on faculty issues in higher education [1] and a growing number of studies on the career paths of Ph.D.’s [2]. As an example, there is a special issue of New Directions for Institutional Research devoted to issues of evaluating faculty performance and the promotion and tenure process [3]. Similarly, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has been investigating and synthesizing traditions in academic life with a goal of promoting flexible career paths that avoid narrow definitions of scholarship [4].

Fairweather has conducted an array of studies on the relationship between research and teaching in faculty roles and attitudes towards faculty behavior and institutional reward systems [1,5,6,7]. Fairweather [6] found that although administrators value teaching and service, salaries rewarded research and publications. In addition, the college faculty reward system tends to emphasize the discreteness, not the integration, of teaching and research – expecting faculty to make conscious choices between these activities rather than promote mutual reinforcement [7]. Colbeck [8] investigated how research faculty balance undergraduate teaching with their other professional responsibilities and found that half of the 97 respondents found it difficult to balance responsibilities and that the lower the rank the greater the difficulty. Management strategies often involved focusing on one role at a time or cutting back on one role, often teaching.

Studies specific to engineering education are few. One study that sheds light on key issues is the analysis of the Engineering Education Coalitions produced through SRI International [9]. 1 See The Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education at the National Academy of Engineering. URL:

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Cummings-Bond, T., & Adams, R. (2004, June), Career Trajectories In Engineering Education – Where Are They Now? Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13541

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