Asee peer logo

Case Study: Establishing a Sustainable Faculty Development Unit within a College of Engineering

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Faculty Unite! Effective Ways for Educators to Collaborate Successfully

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Christine S. Grant North Carolina State University

visit author page

Dr. Christine S. Grant joined the NC State faculty in 1989 after completing her M.S. and Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Sc.B. (Brown University) all in Chemical Engineering (ChE). One of less than 10 African-American women full ChE professors in the country, her research interests are in interfacial phenomena and recently biomedical systems. She is the first Associate Dean of Faculty Advancement in NC State’s College of Engineering. Awards/service include 2015 AAAS Mentor Award, Fellow in American Institute of Chemical Engineers Board of Directors, NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring, Council for Chemical Research Diversity Award. She is the founding director of the Promoting Underrepresented Presence on Science and Engineering Faculties (PURPOSE) Institute”. A certified coach, Grant consults and empowers STEM individuals at all levels in the academy towards excellence in career and professional development. Her workshops on mentoring and academic career development for NSF ADVANCE programs at Purdue, Cornell, Texas A&M, University of Toledo, UVA, Prairie View A&M, and the ADVANCE Annual PI meetings promote STEM faculty development while providing diverse role models for students. She has mentored and empowered hundreds of faculty, students and postdocs.

visit author page


Barbara E Smith North Carolina State University

visit author page

Barbara Smith joined NC State University as Assistant Director of Faculty Advancement in the College of Engineering in 2008. She has a background in business operations, investment portfolio and budget management as an assistant vice president at JP Morgan. Barbara also brings her training in education and experience in teaching and mentoring high school students to faculty advancement. She provides her knowledge and experience in the corporate sector as well as in education to the successful strategic planning and execution of the faculty development program.

visit author page


Louis A Martin-Vega North Carolina State University

visit author page

Dr. Martin-Vega joined NC State University as its Dean of Engineering in 2006. He has also served as Dean of Engineering at USF in Tampa, Florida, as Chair of the Department of Industrial & Mfg Systems Engineering at Lehigh University, as the Lockheed Professor at Florida Institute of Technology, and as a tenured faculty member at the University of Florida and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. He has also held various positions at the National Science Foundation including Acting Head of its Engineering Directorate. He is currently President-Elect of ASEE and his research and teaching interests are in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, scheduling and logistics and engineering education.

visit author page


Olgha Bassam Qaqish North Carolina State University

visit author page

Olgha B. Davis is currently a doctoral candidate at the department of Leadership, Policy, and Adult and Higher Education at North Carolina State University. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and worked in industry for 7 years prior to returning to graduate school. She earned her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from North Carolina State University and the University of Chapel Hill. Ms. Davis’ doctoral research focuses on racial and mathematical identities constructs and how they influence African American male engineering transfer students’ academic experiences.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The purpose of this paper is to present a case study for establishing a sustainable faculty development unit within a college of engineering strategically tailored to serve the distinct needs and requirements of engineering faculty in an increasingly complex and challenging global environment. This case describes a college of engineering faculty development unit within a university which could function as a sustainable, national model for a range of engineering colleges within a variety of institution types.

The program established: The college of engineering faculty development unit (COE-FD) was inaugurated in Spring 2008 with the express goal of connecting faculty in the college with professional and personal development opportunities, grounded in the foundational mission: “… to recruit, promote and retain excellent faculty across the College of Engineering; actively engage faculty, administrators and staff across departments, and celebrate faculty success, achievement and promotion.”

Catalyst for faculty development unit: In 2007, the primary engineering-centric initiative to enhance faculty development in the college of engineering was a new faculty orientation workshop for incoming faculty. Based on a previously assessed need to engage a higher percentage of COE faculty in faculty development programs promoting professional career growth, the college committed to proactive coaching, mentoring and targeted collaboratories for faculty to connect across engineering disciplines on research and educational initiatives. Continued growth and upward trajectory of the COE faculty development unit will be predicated on the infusion of new ideas and initiatives aligned with the college and university’s strategic vision for STEM education and research.

Overcoming challenges: Implementing a COE-specific faculty development program requires active engagement with leadership in departments with different cultures and coordination with college and university level initiatives. Advisory roles in faculty-administration execution of promotion, tenure and retention policies must act as a connector to provost’s office, incorporating national policy trends in research and education into faculty training. Development of college level best practices mandates leadership in faculty recruitment in addition to adjustment in recruitment policies in cooperation with the provost level policies and national policy trends.

Outcomes: Over the past seven years an invested faculty member dually appointed as associate dean established innovative programs for engineering faculty utilizing on-campus and off-campus resources. A Faculty Development team strategically tailored and executed programs providing professional guidance for faculty college-wide, worked collaboratively with upper-level administrators and cross-college teams on cutting-edge programs for leadership development and interacted with department heads in recruiting, retention and promotion of a diverse set of faculty at all ranks. The unit provided leadership for department, college and university level policies for both tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty.

This unit now provides resources for faculty at all levels including programs to enhance scholarly work, leadership, research and teaching. COE-FD initiatives emphasize diversity, broadening participation, team building, collaborative networking and both internal and external professional relationships (e.g., government agencies and industry partners).

Summary: This case study will introduce a proven sustainable model with potential to impact institutional change at a range of engineering colleges within national universities and institutions.

Grant, C. S., & Smith, B. E., & Martin-Vega, L. A., & Qaqish, O. B. (2016, June), Case Study: Establishing a Sustainable Faculty Development Unit within a College of Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26457

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015