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Lecturer An Alternative To The Tenure Track

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Balancing Personal and Professional Life

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.808.1 - 7.808.13



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Paper Authors

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Vladimir Goncharoff

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Patrick Troy

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John Bell

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Dale Reed

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Cathleen Theys

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Ann Ford

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Susan Montgomery

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

Main Menu Session 3475

Lecturer – An Alternative to the Tenure Track John T. Bell1, Ann Ford2, Vladimir Goncharoff1, Susan Montgomery2, Dale Reed1, Cathleen Theys1, Patrick A. Troy1

1 – University of Illinois Chicago / 2 – University of Michigan Ann Arbor


When most people think of an academic position, they think of the traditional tenure-track progression from assistant professor through associate professor to full professor. However there is another alternative that is becoming increasingly common in many universities – The lecturer. The lecturer position is not right for everyone, but for some individuals it offers distinct advantages that make it preferable to the traditional tenure-track approach. In the following sections a number of different lecturers explain how they came to the lecturer position, what advantages ( and disadvantages ) it holds for them, and any other opinions or insights they wish to share regarding the lecturer position.

John T. Bell

I pursued a graduate education not from a desire to conduct research or to teach, but rather to improve my programming skills and to specialize in the area of computer simulation and modeling. When I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and an MS in Computer Science, my intention was to work in the chemical processing industry as a simulation specialist. However I needed to remain in Madison while I waited for my wife to graduate, so I took a position in a small private computer-training firm. After four years of delivering 40 hours of lecture per week, my most marketable skill was my teaching ability, which was more valuable to academia than industry.

My wife and I needed to solve the infamous two-body problem, and after much searching settled at the University of Michigan ( UM ) in Ann Arbor, where she worked on a post-doc in molecular biology and I took a position as lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering. At the time there was some consideration of my moving onto the tenure track after the department completed the ongoing search for a new department head, but in practice that never happened. While at UM I initially taught a variety of chemical engineering courses, including senior plant design, reactor design, and unit operations laboratories. Later I taught college-level computing courses including introductory freshman computing and graduate courses in scientific visualization and virtual reality programming. I also conducted research, in conjunction with H. Scott Fogler, into the use and development of virtual reality for chemical engineering education. This research was conducted with undergraduate student programmers, and produced a number of virtual-reality based educational modules. Papers were written predominantly for ASEE and AIChE annual conferences[1-3], plus a few journal articles[4-6].

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American society for Engineering Education

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Goncharoff, V., & Troy, P., & Bell, J., & Reed, D., & Theys, C., & Ford, A., & Montgomery, S. (2002, June), Lecturer An Alternative To The Tenure Track Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10539

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