Asee peer logo

I Graduated, Now What? An Overview of the Academic Engineering Education Research Job Field and Search Process

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Student

Page Count

18

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34741

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34741

Download Count

111

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Erin J. McCave University of Houston

visit author page

Erin is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. She joined the University of Houston after completing a postdoctoral/lecturer position split between the General Engineering program and the Engineering & Science Education Department and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Erin’s research interests include preparing students for their sophomore year, minority student engineering identity development, and providing mentoring relationships to help foster student growth and success.

visit author page

biography

Cheryl A. Bodnar Rowan University

visit author page

Dr. Bodnar is an Associate Professor in the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. Her research interests relate to the incorporation of active learning techniques such as game-based learning in undergraduate classes as well as integration of innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum. In particular, she is interested in the impact that these tools can have on student perception of the classroom environment, motivation and learning outcomes. She was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium in 2013, awarded the American Society for Engineering Education Educational Research Methods Faculty Apprentice Award in 2014 and the Raymond W. Fahien Award for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship presented by American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Chemical Engineering Division in 2017.

visit author page

biography

Courtney S. Smith-Orr University of North Carolina at Charlotte

visit author page

Courtney S. Smith,PhD is a Undergraduate Coordinator & Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte. Her research interests span the mentoring experiences of African American women in engineering,minority recruitment and retention, and best practices for diversity and inclusion in the Engineering classroom.

visit author page

biography

Alexandra Coso Strong Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4988-361X

visit author page

As an assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University, Dr. Alexandra Coso Strong works and teaches at the intersection of engineering education, faculty development, and complex systems design. Alexandra completed her doctorate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech in Spring 2014. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Alexandra received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from MIT (2007) and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia (2010). Alexandra comes to FIU after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and three years as a faculty member at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Alexandra’s research aims to improve the design of educational experiences for students by critically examining the work and learning environments of practitioners. Specifically, she focuses on (1) how to design and change educational and work systems through studies of practicing engineers and educators and (2) how to help students transition into, through and out of educational and work systems.

visit author page

biography

Walter C. Lee Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

visit author page

Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

visit author page

biography

Courtney June Faber University of Tennessee at Knoxville

visit author page

Courtney is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the Cook Grand Challenge Engineering Honors Program at the University of Tennessee. She completed her Ph.D. in Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University. Prior to her Ph.D. work, she received her B.S. in Bioengineering at Clemson University and her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Courtney’s research interests include epistemic cognition in the context of problem solving, and researcher identity.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

As the field continues to grow, engineering education is continually challenged with finding engineering education research (EER) positions that align with the broad abilities and interests of its members. EER positions exist in engineering education departments, traditional engineering departments (e.g., mechanical, civil), and in non-degree granting programs (e.g., centers for teaching and learning, engineering programs). These positions vary across their emphasis on research, teaching, and service and provide access to different resources and mechanisms to impact engineering education. Given the range of positions available in EER and the emergence of new EER programs, it can be challenging for graduate students and postdocs to navigate the job search process and identify a position that aligns with their professional goals.

The purpose of this research was to better understand the EER job market as it relates to what applicants (i.e., graduates and post-docs) experience as they navigate the job-search and decision-making process. For this study, we conducted interviews with seven transitioning first-year EER faculty members. These individuals were transitioning into various EER faculty positions (e.g. Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Assistant Professor, Research Assistant Professor) with different backgrounds in EER based on their graduate training experiences which included established EER programs as well as traditional engineering departments with EER advisor(s). We asked questions that focused on the individual’s new faculty position, their perception of the weekly time requirements, their job search process, and factors that influenced their final decision of which job to select. Each interview was conducted by two graduate students and was then transcribed and verified for accuracy. Three faculty members performed holistic coding of the transcripts focused on three areas: EER position types, job search process, and job decision making process. The Qualifying Qualitative research Quality framework (Q3) was used as a guide throughout our data collection and analysis process to ensure reliability and trustworthiness of the data collected.

Through our analysis process, we developed a visual representation that provides a guide to assist EER graduate students and postdocs with their job search process. The first figure captures the diversity of positions along with the types of institutions where these positions exist to provide a starting point for individuals on their job search process. The second figure includes a timeline to help capture the average time frames for different phases of the job search process. Factors associated with final decisions based on the interviews conducted are also outlined to provide areas of consideration for individuals undergoing this process in the future. This work provides insight to aspiring academics about the range of opportunities available to those with a background in EER and how they can pursue finding alignment between their interests and positions that are available.

McCave, E. J., & Bodnar, C. A., & Smith-Orr, C. S., & Strong, A. C., & Lee, W. C., & Faber, C. J. (2020, June), I Graduated, Now What? An Overview of the Academic Engineering Education Research Job Field and Search Process Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34741

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: © 2020 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