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Student Faculty Partnerships

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Women & New Faculty Development

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1160.1 - 11.1160.8



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Paper Authors


Elizabeth DeBartolo Rochester Institute of Technology

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ELIZABETH A. DEBARTOLO is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at RIT. She earned her BSE at Duke University in 1994 and her MSME and Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. She works with several students on predicting and enhancing fatigue life in aircraft materials and structures and is active in the college’s K-12 outreach programs.

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Cory Hoffman Rochester Institute of Technology

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CORY A. HOFFMAN, JR. is a fifth year mechanical engineering student enrolled in the BS/MEng program with a concentration in systems engineering. He has worked several years both grading for the Materials Science course and teaching laboratories.

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Melissa Zaczek Rochester Institute of Technology

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MELISSA A. ZACZEK is a student at Rochester Institute of Technology completing her BS and ME in Mechanical Engineering. Her Masters focus is project management with a concentration in business. Her undergraduate focus is bioengineering with an American Politics minor.

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

Student-Faculty Partnerships


One of the biggest challenges facing new engineering faculty members is finding good students to support research and teaching activities. Often, new faculty are assigned graduate student assistants for research projects or are given TA’s from a pool of applicants. Sometimes these working relationships turn out to be productive for both the faculty member and the student, but many times this is not the case. This paper will present a method of identifying students early on in their academic careers and developing good working relationships that are beneficial to both faculty and students.

Over the past five years, students who have done well in lower-level classes have been hired as graders, lab instructors, and – in some cases – MS students. By hand-selecting students and introducing them gradually to the instructor’s side of class operations, a new faculty member can be comfortable enough with the students’ increasing experience levels to give them appropriate levels of responsibility, either in the lab or doing research. Students who may have an interest in teaching as a career can learn more about the field, gain some experience for a teaching portfolio, and get paid for it at the same time. Students sharing a research interest with the faculty member learn early on about research opportunities with that person. To date, this approach has led to several successful graduate student projects and several more students considering teaching as a part of their career. The paper will provide the views both from the faculty member and from some of the students involved teaching and research projects.

One Week in the Life of a New Engineering Faculty Member

As a new faculty member, you have many demands on your time. Not only are you preparing lectures for one, two, or three classes for the first time, but you are working in a new place with new people at a job where rejection comes more often than acceptance in papers, proposals, and student evaluations1. You probably spend 20-25 hours preparing for your new classes, and another six to eight hours in class. Add in some set office hours (because you’ve realized by now that “my door is always open” won’t cut it) and you’re up to 40 hours before you’ve done any research. Finishing up a couple of papers from your dissertation? Looking for someone to fund the new project you’d like to start? Behind on browsing through your journals? There go another 15 hours. If you have undergraduate advisees or committee assignments, you’ll need another hour or two. Don’t have a grader? Four hours. The first few years in a faculty position can take 60+hours out of each week, but finding good student assistants can cut that time significantly and be productive for both faculty and student, on both the teaching and research fronts.

Every new faculty member has probably seen the words “you will be assigned n graduate students to help you with your work” in a startup package or offer for hire. The unspoken disclaimer is that the student or students may not necessarily be interested in your work and they may not necessarily have the technical or personal skills you are seeking in a research or teaching assistant. While these assignments do work out sometimes, other times the students just

DeBartolo, E., & Hoffman, C., & Zaczek, M. (2006, June), Student Faculty Partnerships Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1376

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015