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Culture Shock: Acclimating As A New Faculty Member

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Faculty Development II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.380.1 - 10.380.12



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Paper Authors

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Jason Keith

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Adrienne Minerick

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

Culture Shock: Acclimating as a New Faculty Member Adrienne R. Minerick1, Jason M. Keith2 1 Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39672 / 2 Department of Chemical Engineering Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI 49931


Nobody said that the first year of teaching engineering and mentoring graduate students at a college or university was going to be easy. With the increasing emphasis placed upon faculty scholarship, today's junior faculty are expected to be excellent teachers and outstanding researchers. However, in most instances, new faculty are working at an unfamiliar institution which has its own "culture" of how things are typically done.

These newcomers do not have firsthand knowledge of the undergraduate and graduate students they will teach in their classes and mentor towards graduate degrees. Entering faculty are usually oblivious to ingrained class conduct practices, coursework dogmas, and grading policies. In some instances, their courses can be outside of their direct area of expertise, which further compromises their ability to establish credibility among the students and faculty. In the research realm, collaborative camaraderie as well as equipment and laboratory conduct policies may be foreign. Just locating simple resources can be challenging. Overall, the new faculty member must acclimate quickly in order to effectively communicate with fellow faculty and administrators on a daily basis.

In this paper, the authors will discuss some of the unexpected experiences encountered at their institutions with regard to teaching and research, then provide suggested courses of action on how to prevail.


The common challenge facing almost every new faculty member is to get tenure. A new faculty member is expected to teach at or above their institution’s average, do research above their institution’s average, and perform some level of service. Although colleges and universities are expected to mentor the new faculty member along the way, there can be many trials and tribulations for the new hire that were not anticipated.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright @ 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Keith, J., & Minerick, A. (2005, June), Culture Shock: Acclimating As A New Faculty Member Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14790

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