June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Cooperative & Experiential Education
22.324.1 - 22.324.11
Choices for Ph.D.s in Engineering: Analyses of Career Paths in Academia and IndustryEngineering doctoral education encounters a variety of challenges as determined by policymakers, industrial professionals, or as self-reported by engineering doctoral students. Thesechallenges relate to the students’ lack of training for jobs outside of academia, their inefficiencyto adjust to change or to lead a change, and the narrow disciplinary training of graduate students.Considering the challenges facing engineering doctoral education, multiple initiatives have beenlaunched to help the preparation of engineering doctoral students for a changing society. Theseefforts include the emphasis of the translation of engineering education research to practice(ASEE, 2009), the restructuring and design of a systematic engineering doctoral curriculum(Everett, Imbrie, & Morgan, 2000), the integration of project-, problem- or experiential-basedlearning into doctoral students’ educational activities (Smith, Johnson, Johnson, & Sheppard,2005) and the piloting of global engineering program or co-op programs for the development ofengineers’ global competencies (Downey, Lucena, Moskal, et al.). Recognizing the efforts ofthese initiatives, however, empirical studies are needed to understand the outcomes of Ph.D.students’ learning to gain a practical view about the educational outcomes and career trajectoriesof engineering doctoral graduates.This study focuses on the career paths of engineering Ph.D.s from the perspectives of industryand academia. In this report, we identified approximately 50 engineering Ph.D. graduates fromU.S. programs who (1) worked in industry first and now work on academia; (2) worked inacademia first and now work in industry; (3) worked only in industry; or (4) worked only inacademia. Using resumes from these professionals as artifacts, researchers present qualitativeand quantitative analyses about career trajectories of engineering Ph.D.s in industry andacademia and identify insights and opportunities for a future study about the challenges and thebarriers in the transition points of engineering Ph.D.s after graduation.References:American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) report (2009). Creating a Culture forScholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education: Ensuring U.S. engineering hasthe right people with the right talent for a global society.Downey, G., J. Lucena, Moskal, B.M. et al. (2006). The Globally Competent Engineer: WorkingEffectively with People Who Define Problems Differently. Journal of Engineering Education95(2): 107–22.Everett, L., Imbrie, P.K., and Morgan, J. (2000). Integrated Curricula: Purpose and Design.Journal of Engineering Education, 89(2), 167–175Smith, K.A., Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.W., and Sheppard, S.D. (2005), Pedagogies ofEngagement: Classroom-Based Practices, Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), 1-15.
Cox, M. F., & Zhu, J., & Ahn, B., & London, J. S., & Frazier, S., & Torres-Ayala, A. T., & Chavela Guerra, R. C. (2011, June), Choices for Ph.D.s in Engineering: Analyses of Career Paths in Academia and Industry Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17605
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