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Greasing The Tenure Track 2

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.529.1 - 6.529.4

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David Braun

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

Session 2275

Greasing the Tenure Track 2

David Braun California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


Some new faculty must balance the competing demands of the desire to teach effectively while maintaining a heavy teaching load. Oh, and, by the way, along the way to the tenure hurdle, research, professional development, and service duties may distract from family, friends, and real life.

Based on the author’s participation in the NSF's New Century Scholars (NCS) Workshop at Stanford University as both a scholar (1999) and, subsequently, as a senior scholar (2000), this paper summarizes six useful tips for tenure-track faculty. This second paper in the series by NCS senior scholars provides the perspective of an engineering educator at a California State University campus with approximately 4000 engineering students.

Fight Boredom with Clarity

Jerome Breitenbach is a colleague in my department who used this phrase in response to my query about how to improve teaching ability. It nicely introduces several simple principles to use in class and complements much of the advice presented in the NCS Workshop.1-2 Considering clarity while applying the principles of effective teaching enhances the process for both student and teacher. The following elements of instruction summarize several principles of effective teaching:3

• Select objectives appropriate for the students • Teach to the objectives • Monitor the students and adjust the teaching • Use the principles of learning

Hidden in these tips are the need to account for a variety of student learning styles and the need to make use of active learning and collaborative learning strategies.4 It might seem superfluous to emphasize the use of clarity, because clarity can certainly aid each of the above instructional activities. Perhaps a very specific piece of advice will help:

• Avoid the use of ambiguous pronouns.

Phrases containing any of the words “these things here” provide little helpful information, particularly to a student taking notes who doesn’t happen to see the gestures that the instructor

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Braun, D. (2001, June), Greasing The Tenure Track 2 Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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