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Difficulties, Failures And Successes In Recruiting Members To Asee

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Best Practices for Campus Representatives

Tagged Division

Campus Representatives

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.543.1 - 12.543.9



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Paper Authors


Craig Gunn Michigan State University

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Craig James Gunn is Director of the Communication Program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University. In this role he directs the integrated communication program in mechanical engineering while providing help to the cooperative engineering education division of the College of Engineering. He serves as editor for the CED Newsbriefs and MCCE Co-op Courier and is one of the co-authors of Engineering Your Future.

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Difficulties, Failures, and Successes in Recruiting Members to ASEE Abstract

With an organization of over 12,000 members, one would imagine that the lure of engineering and education would be an easy sell in the process of bringing new members into the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The very title ASEE exudes the importance of the organization’s focus on educating engineers for the future of the United States and the World. But, as with many things that appear easy, the task is not as simple as one might imagine. In today’s world of research, there is a greater need to sell the importance of education in respect to research than one might think. This also may be extremely important with the number of international graduate students who are becoming faculty in US schools. When they think of education and its relevance to research and an organization that puts education first, it becomes vital to create a cohesive bond between the importance of research and the relevance of education to that research. The many facets of talking about, convincing, and selling the importance of being a member of ASEE will be explored in this paper. Some of the inherent difficulties of trying to convince research faculty will be discussed, along with surveys of faculty and their reasons for continuing to be members of the organization and their reluctance to being members. For the individual taking on the responsibility of being a campus representative, Football Coach Vince Lombardi commented, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” 1 It does take a certain amount of effort from the volunteer to get the job done.


Historian Thomas Fuller gave us a simple road to follow when he said, “One that would have the fruit must climb the tree." 2 Perhaps that is the beginning rung on the ladder that leads to reaching one’s goal of increased membership in any organization. Effort has to be expended in order to gain the reward, and sometimes individuals assume that simply asking people to join with emails and a handout in the mailbox will suffice. If it were that easy, no one would have to devote any time to building a larger membership. It is therefore necessary to take the initiative, talk to people, and be ready for probing questions that, if fielded carefully, can convince others to join.

Human nature also enters at this step, and we are prone to opening our ears to conversations if we can get something for little or nothing. ASEE provides a wonderful mechanism that allows deans to cover the first year of membership with ASEE assuming the cost for the second year. This in itself would seem to be all that is necessary to bring in the members, but that is not always the case; and it will require a longer look later in the paper. But for those who can be convinced because of the spectacular bargain they are receiving, the lack of any expenditure, and the benefits they receive; there is nothing more to do. Faculty are signed up and the job of the campus representative is done until those members have completed the two-year, trial membership and the renewal of their

Gunn, C. (2007, June), Difficulties, Failures And Successes In Recruiting Members To Asee Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1847

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