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Staying Close To Your Students During The Tenure Process

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.469.1 - 4.469.8

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Paper Authors

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Kenneth Bryden

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

Session 2275



The road to tenure has many challenges, and because of these, it is easy to lose track of one of the primary reasons many of us have chosen to be professors: the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students. There is no shortage of advice for new professors on how to proceed to tenure. Repeatedly, new professors are told to limit teaching time and to focus on the goal of published research. Given the limits on a new professor’s time and energy, this is good advice. However, it is likely that the path new professors learn early in their academic career will be the path they will follow through the rest of their career. Because of this, it is essential that the value we set on teaching be clearly identified and supported throughout the tenure process. It is unlikely that the demands of research and service will lessen following tenure. If we do not make time to pursue teaching excellence during the tenure process, it is likely that we will not find time to pursue teaching excellence following tenure. Both our students and we lose if this happens. Recognizing the importance of teaching, some universities have begun to change the tenure process to more clearly recognize excellence in teaching. However, even in these cases tenure is a demanding process, and it is easy to give in to time pressure and lose track of our teaching goals. This paper discusses the importance of staying close to the students during the tenure process and provides a series of suggestions on how this can be done within the limited time available.

1. Introduction

The call for change in engineering education has become so widespread that it is nearly a cliché. Studies, conferences, papers, and institutes all call for changes in engineering education. The American Society for Engineering Education1, the National Research Council2, the National Science Foundation3, and the Engineering Deans Council4 have all issued reports on engineering education. New models of education, new content, and new ways to teach are all “on-the-table.” These are exciting times for those who are starting a career in engineering education. We have the opportunity to participate in the implementation of ABET 20005. We have a wide selection of teaching tools available, ranging from traditional books and lectures to computer and web based instruction. We have the focus and attention of a wide range of university, government, and professional organizations that want to support and improve engineering education. In many ways we have the wind at our backs in the area of engineering education. And yet, it easy for us to become distracted with research and to become disconnected from our students. Teaching and research are both key aspects of an engineering professor’s responsibilities and both compete for the time and attention of the new engineering professor. Because of the demands of the tenure process, research often receives greater attention than teaching. This occurs for many reasons. However, chief among these is that the evaluation of a faculty member for tenure is based

Bryden, K. (1999, June), Staying Close To Your Students During The Tenure Process Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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