June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
New Engineering Educators
14.399.1 - 14.399.11
Dad & Lad – Advantages, Best Practices, and Pitfalls to Avoid for a Parent and Son/Daughter Who Are Both Faculty Members in a Similar Discipline (with Applications to Mentoring) Abstract
A father and son have been faculty members in the same discipline at separate universities for the past seven years. Some may view this as a detriment for a variety of reasons including pride, nepotism, and a potential lack of intellectual independence. On the contrary, the situation can and should lend to advantages including workplace efficiency, collaboration, and even a form of apprenticeship, simply because chances are good that communication styles, leadership methods, and interests are very similar between a parent and a son/daughter. In addition, these similarities could be used as criteria when forming a mentor relationship. This paper will elaborate on the various advantages available, pitfalls to avoid, and best practices while citing specific examples of the authors. Examples include sharing common notes and exams, project/research collaboration between universities, reinvigoration of old resources, committee and professional society involvement, guest lecturing, an ease and trust in communication on important issues to engineering programs (e.g., accreditation visits, curriculum changes, student affairs, course offerings, new initiatives), and more. These examples could also apply in a mentor relationship. In addition special note is made relating to the ease of communication and collaboration from a life-long experience of working together as a “team” (e.g., sports teams, Boy Scouts, etc.). Finally the authors note the “two-way street” advantage. For example, the son uses his father’s valuable insight and time-tested resources to aid in career advancement. In turn, the son’s fresh perspective and effort necessary for promotion aids the father in remaining active and current in the discipline. Again, the mentor relationship can prosper from the “two-way street” advantage.
The authors of this paper are related as father and son. Philip (Phil) Gerhart is a Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering and the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Evansville (UE), IN. He is the father of Andrew (Andy) Gerhart, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Lawrence Technological University (LTU), Southfield, MI. They have been faculty members in the same discipline for the past seven years, but of course, at separate universities. Because of these interesting circumstances, this paper will elaborate on available advantages, possible pitfalls, and best practices by citing specific examples of the authors’ experiences. If you are reading this paper, you may well be thinking either: 1) This is a very unique situation, so I’m probably wasting my time, or 2) I am the father/mother/son/daughter of a professor, so I’m curious to see what this paper contains. Because of the uniqueness of the situation, most are probably thinking number one. If so, fear not! This paper can apply to a graduate advisor who now has one of his/her students serving at another (or perhaps the same) institution. Conversely, the paper can apply to a new faculty member who now has his graduate advisor as a mentor. Also, this paper will give some advice for any new faculty member who is seeking a mentor. Further the paper can help any experienced faculty member who may need to serve as a mentor. Finally, the authors hope that the paper is interesting to anybody that may not fall within the aforementioned categories.
Gerhart, A., & Gerhart, P. (2009, June), Dad And Lad: Advantages, Best Practices, And Pitfalls To Avoid For A Parent And Son Or Daughter Who Are Both Faculty Members In A Similar Discipline (With Applications To Mentoring) Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4981
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