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Engineering Faculty Sabbatical It Could Be The Time Of Your Life!

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.553.1 - 9.553.9



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Paper Authors

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Richard Goff

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Engineering Faculty Sabbatical – It could be the time of your life! Richard M. Goff, Ph.D., Associate Professor College of Engineering, Virginia Tech

An emerging trend - follow your dream to bring joy and passion to your students.


In the fall of 2002, after serving seven years on the faculty of the Division of Engineering Fundamentals at Virginia Tech teaching primarily first year engineering students and sitting on numerous committees, I decided to make a move to be more involved in industry to see what “real engineers” actually do these days. I didn’t choose just any industry, but one that I am passionate about – the motorcycle industry. More specifically, I chose Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. The first Harley-Davidson® motorcycle was built in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The fall of 2003 was to be the 100th anniversary of this event and would be marked by rides from the four borders of the U.S. to Milwaukee all converging on August 27th, 2003. The fall semester work starts at Virginia Tech on August 10th and I knew that I wanted to be riding my Harley-Davidson® motorcycle across from the Southwest to Milwaukee when classes started. I also knew that I wanted to work with this legendary company so I needed a plan.

What I proposed was to consult with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. and teach an Introduction to Mechanical Engineering class at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) while on Sabbatical in Milwaukee during fall semester 2003. As part of this proposal, I would acquire engine parts and engineering drawings from Harley-Davidson® to use as hands-on activities in the design graphics part of the introduction to ME class at MSOE and then bring these tested materials and activities back to Virginia Tech.

This paper describes my experience interviewing with Harley-Davidson® and MSOE, my “Ride Home” to Milwaukee as well as my experiences working as a practicing engineer at Harley- Davidson®. I describe the Motor Company as well as working with Harley-Davidson University. I also describe my experience teaching a small class of 18 first year students at MSOE and the hands-on learning activities used in class. I had the time of my life! The words “rekindled passion” don’t even begin to describe my renewed love of teaching.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Goff, R. (2004, June), Engineering Faculty Sabbatical It Could Be The Time Of Your Life! Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13784

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