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Leadership 106: The Value Of Time

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.835.1 - 14.835.9



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Paper Authors


Jerry Samples University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown

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DR. JERRY SAMPLES holds a BS Ch.E. from Clarkson College, MS and Ph.D. in ME from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Samples served at the United States Military Academy twelve years before assuming the position of Director of the Engineering Technology Division at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1996. After a five year period as the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs he returned to the Engineering Technology Division. He is a Fellow of the International Society for Teaching and Learning receiving that honor in 2007. In 2008, he received the American Society for Engineering Education National Outstanding Teaching Award.

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

Leadership 106: The Value of Time


Time has a value because the supply is finite and the demand for it seems limitless; especially for faculty in the tenure-stream. If one thinks about it scientifically, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has been related to the direction of time, a positive direction, and since no one exceeds the speed of light, then everyone is in a positive time warp. This simply means that time marches on and there is nothing that can be done about it other than use it effectively. Thus, the value of time is measured in such vague ways as time wasted, time effectively utilized and personal time.

The direction of this paper, positive in time, is to determine ways to eliminate the wasted time in order to effectively utilize time so that there is more personal time. The motivation for this paper was a small group of new faculty, approximately 10, who were discussing how much they value time in their new jobs and how others seem not to value their time. The concern being, how do they demonstrate that time is valuable? The immediate answer was productivity, including: publications, grants, graduates, and status in the discipline. All of these were in the effective category but there were a series of topics in the wasted category that may not belong there. These topics were time wasters only to the new faculty but did have value in their long term position as an educator: i.e. professional seminars, discipline specific meeting, and topics such as teaching. Finally, there were concerns that there was not enough personal time and that the stress from this alone caused reduced effectiveness in many cases.

This paper will discuss the categories of wasted, effective and personal time and give examples of how to optimize the categories such that waste is virtually eliminated. This sounds like a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics but it will become clear that it is the choice of the system being analyzed that allows for apparent efficiency increases without waste.


The motivation of this paper was the discussion of a small group of new faculty, approximately 10, but is based on conversations with over 400 relatively new faculty at teaching seminars across the country. The mix of faculty in the larger sample represents the full range of institutions; teaching colleges to research universities. The 10 faulty member discussion group brought the topic to the forefront, thus stimulating the development of the material presented in this paper. The topic is important and has been alluded to in teaching books over the years2-4.

It is interesting to note that almost every faculty member encountered in over 25 years of higher education experience has concerns about time. They feel that there is not enough time to get everything accomplished including combinations of the following: teaching, research, service, meetings, grant writing, proposal writing, family time, and personal time. The competition for the scarce resource that time represents causes anxiety, frustration, and at times, depression. One of the main time sinks is the computer. With its advent came a myriad of new distracters of which email and web-surfing are the main time sinks. Time is an interesting resource, and it is time that needs to be optimized to resolve the concerns of the faculty.

Samples, J. (2009, June), Leadership 106: The Value Of Time Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5439

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