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Long Term Optimum Strategies For New Engineering Faculty: A View From A Decade Down The Road

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.276.1 - 2.276.13



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Robert Engelken

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

Session 3675

Long Term Optimum Strategies for New Engineering Faculty: A View from a Decade Down the Road

Dr. Robert D. Engelken Professor of Electrical Engineering Arkansas State University State University (Jonesboro), AR 72467

Introduction New and/or young engineering faculty experience a variety of situations, perspectives, and challenges unique to their fresh arrival on the scene of academia. Many of these are associated with the need for the new professor to prove/“establish” himself/herself in his/her discipline and hop on the treadmill in a mad rush toward the “life and death” (or so they seem at the time) goals of promotion, tenure, merit raises, and national/international professional reputation [1-4]. In many instances, the intensity of the effort and associated time and energy demands outweigh even those of graduate school. The new professor often is totally dedicated to and immersed in this effort, essentially placing all other priorities, even family, on the “back burner”, as an “investment” in the future that will pay dividends after the above goals are reached, say in roughly a decade.

As a relatively new/young professor (during my fifth academic year), I presented “Development, ‘Survival’, and Retention of Young Engineering Faculty: A Front Line View” at the Fall 1986/16th IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference in Arlington, Texas. This very well received presentation and associated full-length paper published in the Conference Proceedings [5] detailed my still relatively fresh but experience-tempered perspectives and recommendations on strategies for the new/young engineering professor to successfully but ethically pursue the above professionally critical goals, as based upon my four plus years of experience “playing the game”. A key tenet of the presentation/paper was the need for the new professor to generate, contribute, and publicize “Academic Wealth”; that is, activities, services, and documents that are perceived as valuable contributions to the institution and/or professional community. Academic Wealth was attested to be optimally generated when one combined high degrees of effort, time, commitment, and boldness with both working hard and working smart.

A decade has passed since this presentation/publication and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge of my professional and personal life. The initial professional goals have been, by and large, reached. The initial rush of energy, time, effort, boldness, and commitment has been replaced by a sense of and need for “pacing”, balance, caution, and recognizing one’s limitations in professional “midlife”, while still generating academic wealth at a new level of true/lasting (verses perceived) value.

This paper will again discuss my (updated) views on optimum strategies for achieving professionally important goals (i.e., Academic Wealth), both as a new professor and as one moves into the midlife/mainstream as an engineering educator. However, the concept of Academic Wealth has to become moderated/complemented by balance, moderation, and “pacing” (collectively to be referred to as “Academic Balance”) as the scope of one’s

Engelken, R. (1997, June), Long Term Optimum Strategies For New Engineering Faculty: A View From A Decade Down The Road Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6669

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