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The Engineering Study Group Initiative At Virginia Tech: Involving Engineering Faculty In The Discussion And Exploration Of Educational Issues

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Conference

2004 Annual Conference

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovative Graduate Programs & Methods

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

9.1257.1 - 9.1257.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/13657

Download Count

9

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Paper Authors

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William Devenport

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Terry Wildman

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Glenda Scales

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

2004-307

THE ENGINEERING STUDY GROUP INITIATIVE AT VIRGINIA TECH: INVOLVING ENGINEERING FACULTY IN THE DISCUSSION AND EXPLORATION OF EDUCATIONAL ISSUES

William J. Devenport, Glenda R. Scales, Terry M. Wildman

Virginia Tech

Abstract

An initiative to promote the formation of voluntary study groups amongst engineering faculty at Virginia Tech is described. The groups provide an opportunity for faculty to freely discuss and exchange their teaching ideas and collaborate with more and less experienced colleagues, thus reducing the isolation they often experience when facing instructional challenges. The formation of study groups centered in engineering departments has been encouraged through a structure independent of the normal department administration. As a result of this effort participation in study groups has rapidly risen and currently over one third of all engineering faculty participate. If only by this measure the initiative has had an impact on the overall quality of teaching in the College of Engineering

Introduction

Engineering faculty at Virginia Tech, as at most universities, are expected to simultaneously perform a range of responsibilities in teaching, research and service. The emphasis on research responsibilities is often the strongest. The promotion, tenure and salary systems in place at most institutions strongly encourage faculty to develop funded research programs that produce publications and graduate degrees. The financial difficulties faced by many schools in recent years have only acted to further increase the focus on research or, more specifically, on the winning of research dollars.

While the focus on research may be an economic and competitive necessity, it does not change the reality that the primary job function of most faculty is education and that (by student numbers at least) the dominant component of that takes place in traditional classroom settings, and is not directly related to research. In contrast to the collaborative Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright©2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Devenport, W., & Wildman, T., & Scales, G. (2004, June), The Engineering Study Group Initiative At Virginia Tech: Involving Engineering Faculty In The Discussion And Exploration Of Educational Issues Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/13657

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