New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
New Engineering Educators
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
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