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Getting A Good Start On Tenure The First Year

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Conference Session

Promotion and Tenure

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators (NEE)

Page Count


Page Numbers

3.300.1 - 3.300.5

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Paper Authors


James R. Alexander University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Dr. James R. Alexander is Professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He is currently serving as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. He holds a BA, MPA, and PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Donald D. Harter University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Dr. Donald D. Harter is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He holds BSEEE, MSEEE, and Ph.D. in Engineering from North Dakota State University. He has eight years of teaching experience, and has worked as a Software Engineer at Hewlett Packard. His academic interests include: software engineering, microprocessor control systems, system identification, and spectral estimation.

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Jerry W. Samples University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Dr. Jerry Samples is Professor and Director of Engineering Technology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. He holds a BS ChE from Clarkson College, and MS and PhD in ME from Oklahoma State University. He taught at the United States Military Academy for 12 years before assuming his current position. Much of his recent writing has been in the area of foundations of good teaching and development of advanced teaching methods.

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Six years to tenure seems like an eternity until the last year approaches and much is yet to be accomplished. A sudden surge of activity at the end of the tenure trek is “normal”, as most new professors spend too much time getting started. This is especially so when there is a research program that must be established before the refereed papers can be produced. And, of course there is the teaching aspect of tenure. In teaching colleges the path is different but requires planning and careful management just as it does in the research institutions. The key to success is a fast start that eliminates the first year syndrome, where satisfaction over landing a job buoys the new professor until the realization hits that this is a small step in a lifetime career.

This paper addresses the fast start from three levels; Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Director of Engineering Technology, and the new Professor. It addresses the plan proposed by the VPAA, the execution of that plan by the Director, and the efforts of the Professor to accomplish the myriad of tasks that will help in the tenure process. It involves direct communication among the group, and a mentoring plan to assist the new Professor. It requires each responsible agent to get involved to assist in the success of the program. It is not an assurance of success, but it helps all parties begin the evaluative process early, to avoid disasters that deny tenure to good people and tenure some who might otherwise be less qualified.

Alexander, J. R., & Harter, D. D., & Samples, J. W. (1998, June), Getting A Good Start On Tenure The First Year Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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