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Departmental Advisory Boards Their Creation, Operation, And Optimization

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Advisory Boards & Program Assessment

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.362.1 - 8.362.6



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Paper Authors

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Michael Cutlip

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

Session 3413

Departmental Advisory Boards - Their Creation, Operation, and Optimization

Michael B. Cutlip

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Connecticut, Unit 3222, Storrs, CT 06269-3222 Michael.Cutlip@Uconn.Edu

Most academic engineering departments should strongly consider having a Departmental Advisory Board. There are many options for the membership, purposes, and usefulness of these Boards. This paper will present the views and suggestions of an engineering faculty member who has been associated with boards for Chemical Engineering Departments - as a faculty member, as a department head, and as a member of a Board at another university. Experiences over a 35-year period will be used to explore ways in which these Boards and their members can be utilized to the fullest advantage for the sponsoring Departments and for the Engineering College.


The following are my personal views on the operations of a Departmental Advisory Board. They are based on career-long experiences with Boards in various capacities. My first contact with a Board was as an assistant/associate professor participating in our department's Board when it was the only one in the engineering college. I then managed and interacted with a Board as a department head for nine years. Finally, I am now a professor who interacts with our current Board, and I am serving my third year as a member of a Board for the department in which I received my Ph. D. some 36 years ago.

All academic departments in engineering disciplines should strongly consider establishing a continuing "Departmental Advisory Board" that meets on an annual basis. Such a Board can have a variety of responsibilities as it provides important advice and guidance for an academic department. The key word in the title of this Board is ADVISORY, and the members may need to be reminded from time to time that all of their advice may not be viewed as appropriate by the department faculty or department chair. In some cases, the advice may not be possible as there are many constraints in the academic world that are just not known or appreciated by those whose careers are beyond the academic ivory towers. But in general, an appropriately organized, charged, and managed Board can be a major asset to a progressive and dynamic department.

Board Membership

It is very important to organize a Board properly so that it is efficient and effective in carrying out its many activities. New Board members should know the term limits in advance. My experience leads me to suggest that terms of three years are most appropriate, and staggered terms should result in a one-third-turnover per year of Board members. There should be a Proceeding of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Cutlip, M. (2003, June), Departmental Advisory Boards Their Creation, Operation, And Optimization Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11587

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: © 2003 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