June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.965.1 - 14.965.7
Practitioners as Adjunct Clinical Professors: Their Role in Teaching Real-World Engineering Applications in Design and Construction
In the schools of engineering and technology, it is a common practice to hire adjunct faculty from industry to deliver instruction in select areas of design and construction, such as bridge design, construction contracting, special problems, etc. The reasons are two-fold: One, to avoid hiring full-time tenure-track faculty to comply with the budgetary constraints, and Two, to utilize the expertise of practitioners in specialized courses. Practitioners utilize engineering codes, standards, and specifications on a routine basis, and are well-equipped to transmit this knowledge to the students in an interesting and challenging manner. Practitioners face a variety of problems in their day-to-day practice and are open to sharing them with the students. Students enjoy exposure to real-world problems and feel connected to the profession through the experiences of these practitioners. The author has had the privilege of working with and utilizing adjunct clinical professors from industry in the areas of mechanical and electrical systems of buildings, materials testing, structural design, construction management and project scheduling. This paper cites select case histories, describes areas in which senior level courses in design and construction can be delivered more effectively by adjunct clinical professors. Practitioners, as adjunct clinical professors, bring technical relevance and currency to engineering curriculums, and students benefit from their experiences. In addition, participation of adjunct clinical professors opens up opportunities for students in gaining internships, field trips to projects, and professional networking. This paper also raises issues related to remuneration of adjunct faculty to insure a balanced approach to hiring of adjunct faculty.
The reasons for hiring adjunct faculty in higher education circles, whether part-time, or full-time (non-tenure track), are two-fold: One, to avoid hiring full-time tenure-track faculty to comply with the budgetary constraints, and Two, to utilize the expertise of practitioners to enhance instruction in courses related to engineering design and construction. This practice is quite common in two-year and four-year colleges. This practice is also prevalent in research universities. Generally speaking, in undergraduate institutions, the practice of hiring part-time faculty is more to substitute for, or replace full-time faculty, or to add additional sections in a particular course. In specialized areas, sometimes departments seek out qualified individuals from industry to bring the specialized expertise because of non-familiarity of full-time faculty with the current practices in the field. In that context, part-time faculty, who are full-time practitioners, are hired as Adjunct Faculty in the role of Clinical Professors. This paper addresses the key role the Part-Time Adjunct Clinical Professors play in helping departments stay current on the practice side of the fields in engineering design and construction. Some case studies are cited where part-time clinical faculty have not only done a remarkable job in instruction but have added value to the department by opening up doors to students in gaining internships, field trips to projects, and professional networking. The paper also addresses issues related to remuneration of adjunct faculty.
Varma, V. (2009, June), Practitioners As Adjunct Clinical Professors: Their Role In Teaching Real World Engineering Applications In Design And Construction Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4676
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