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Panel: Faculty of Practice: Female Faculty Boundary Spanners Offering & Gaining Perspective

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

From Industry to the Academy - Female Faculty Boundary Spanners Offering and Gaining Perspective

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.967.1 - 24.967.2



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Paper Authors


Mary K. Pilotte Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Mary Pilotte is Associate Professor of Engineering Practice in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She leads the First-Year Engineering instructional operations group, is an instructor for First-Year Engineering and Multidisciplinary coursework, and was recently appointed Director Designate for the undergraduate Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies and Multidisciplinary Engineering program. With over 20 years of industrial work experience, and supportive of her academic roles, Mary actively leads academic outreach to industrial firms to develop in-classroom, project-based, active learning through identification of “real life”, in-context problem scenarios.

Pilotte’s research interests involve understanding engineering culture, identity, and communication in the context of professional engineering practice. Expanded interests include understanding student benefits associated with in-context active learning, innovative distance learning, and global learning experiences. She holds Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision from Purdue University, an MBA from the Goizueta School of Business, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Diana Bairaktarova The University of Oklahoma

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Diana Bairaktarova is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Practice in the College of Engineering, School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at University of Oklahoma. Diana has over a decade of experience working as a Design Engineer. Her research is focused on human learning and engineering, i.e. understanding how individual differences and aptitudes affect interaction with mechanical objects, and how engineering students’ personality traits influence ethical decision-making process in engineering design.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Engineering Education Innovation Center and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State where she specialized in construction and researched sustainable bridge practices for her masters’ thesis. She earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech in 2013 where she studied the motivation and identity of graduate teaching assistants in first-year engineering programs. Additionally at Virginia Tech, Rachel was a Dean’s Teaching Fellow, which afforded her the opportunity to teach first-year engineering courses along with graduate level teaching practicums. Her current research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. She is a recipient of the 2012 American Society for Engineering Education Women in Engineering Division Mara H. Washburn Early Engineering Educator Grant. Currently, she teaches within the first-year engineering program at Ohio State while maintaining an active engineering education research program.

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From Industry to the Academy – Female Faculty Boundary Spanners Offering & Gaining PerspectiveAbstract Universities seem to be reviving their interest in engaging industrial concerns. Amongengineering schools, there is an increased dialogue around the desire for greater connections withindustry with the goal of seeking richer understanding of actual engineering practice. In theclassroom, pedagogies of engagement and active learning often demand “in context” learningscenarios to provide students with authentic engineering experiences. This quest forcollaboration and authenticity is also seen in calls for funding proposals, which often encouragesome explicit form of participation by industrial firms or practitioners. But what is the model forcultivating and sustaining such connections? One approach taken is the hiring of academically credentialed and industry experiencedengineers back into the university as faculty. Sometimes referred to as faculty of practice, theseindividuals offer the benefit of extensive “real” engineering experience, while carrying thecredibility that accompanies having survived the rigors of a technically oriented, research-basedPh.D.. Further, they come with rich personal connections and a full Rolodex of contacts thatwould take years to develop organically from inside an academic institution. The questionhowever, is where do such hybrid faculty come from and what would possess individuals tomake such a non-traditional career move? Further, what are the experiences and perspectives(shared and gained) in taking such a career path? This panel would seek out 3-5 such “boundary spanning” female faculty for a lively paneldiscussion surrounding their personal journeys. Topics of moderated discussion would rangefrom: decisions around making such a career switch; first impressions of moving from industryto the academic setting; roles and assignments associated with these faculty positions; benefitsand drawbacks to the career pathway; and lessons learned/advice for individuals and institutionsconsidering this approach. An open question and answer session would follow.Key words: industrial engagement, industry, engineering practice, career transformation,faculty of professional practice.

Pilotte, M. K., & Bairaktarova, D., & Kajfez, R. L. (2014, June), Panel: Faculty of Practice: Female Faculty Boundary Spanners Offering & Gaining Perspective Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22900

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