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Tips for Succeeding as a New Engineering Assistant Professor

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1529.1 - 22.1529.12



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Paper Authors

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Stephan A. Durham University of Colorado, Denver


Wesley Marshall University of Colorado, Denver

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Wesley Marshall is currently an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver and co-director of the Active Communities Transportation (ACT) Research Group. He specializes in transportation planning, safety, and sustainability as well as urban design, congestion pricing, and parking. Recent research involves defining and measuring the street network and an empirical study considering the role of street patterns, connectivity, and network density in road safety and sustainability. Having spent time with the UConn Center for Transportation and Urban Planning, Sasaki Associates, and Clough, Harbour and Associates, Dr. Marshall is a native of Watertown, Massachusetts, a graduate of the University of Virginia, and he received his doctorate from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Marshall is also a recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship and the Charley Wootan Award for best TRB paper.

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Tips for Succeeding as a New Engineering Assistant ProfessorNew assistant professors in engineering programs across the United States are beingasked to accomplish more than ever before. The pressures of obtaining high levels ofexternally funded research, publish quality journal papers, and advise and graduatemaster and doctoral level students in addition to being a quality teacher in the classroomcan be overwhelming. This paper provides advice to new engineering assistantprofessors for succeeding as both a contributing member of the engineering faculty andas an engineering educator. We as engineering educators are not provided with formal training in teachingcourses. In fact, many new engineering professors have not taught a course prior tobecoming an assistant professor. Because of the lack in experience and training,engineering faculty must depend on help from other faculty, teaching workshops, anduniversity programs. It is key for new assistant professors to reach out to senior facultymembers for mentorship. Senior faculty will be able to provide guidance as to coursedevelopment, student advising, grant writing and submission, service on department anduniversity level committees as well as other important focus areas of a tenure-trackfaculty member. Many departments and universities have established programs in whichjunior faculty members are paired with senior faculty. They meet on a regular basis tomonitor progress of the junior faculty and help answer any questions the junior facultymay have since the previous meeting. Teaching workshops such as the American Societyof Civil Engineer’s – Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEED) are greatopportunities for tenure-track faculty to develop new and effective ways of teaching.These workshops teach faculty about the different learning styles of students, how toengage students in the classroom setting, and methods of course delivery. Some new faculty find it difficult to balance teaching with research and service.New assistant professors should be warned against participating on too manyprofessional, department and university committees. In addition, collaboration with otherfaculty on externally funded research should be encouraged. It is critical for new facultyto teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. This will help them identify potentialgraduate students. These suggestions as well as others included in this paper offerguidance on how to succeed as a faculty member required to obtain high levels ofexternally funded research, publish peer-reviewed journal papers, and graduate students,but expected to be a quality teacher in the classroom.

Durham, S. A., & Marshall, W. (2011, June), Tips for Succeeding as a New Engineering Assistant Professor Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18912

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