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Transitioning From Industry To Education: The Third Year

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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

Tricks of the Trade for Teaching I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1350.1 - 11.1350.11



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Paper Authors


William Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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WILLIAM R. LOENDORF obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, and M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds a Professional Engineer certification and was previously an Engineering Manager at Motorola. His interests include engineering management, real-time embedded systems, and digital signal processing.

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

Transitioning from Industry to Education: The Third Year


Changing careers can be a very demanding and stressful experience. Today, few people stay with the same organization or occupation their entire professional career. In fact, the transition from one career to another may actually occur multiple times. However, the interest here is on one particular transition. After 30 years as an engineer and engineering manager many skills were acquired and developed. But were any of them transferable to another career, especially to one in education as an engineering professor.

The transition from industry to education would take time and effort while presenting many trials and tribulations. The first year was full of new obligations, responsibilities, and surprises. It was truly a learning experience. However, it was discovered that many of the skills utilized as an engineer and manager were directly transferable, greatly easing the conversion. The second year brought with it even more challenges and opportunities that demanded attention revealing additional skills that were transferable and regularly used. The work load continued to increase during the third year and at times seemed unbearable. However, it became clear that the transition was successful when, for the first time, some sense of normalcy and routine was recognized. This accomplishment can be directly attributed to the engineering knowledge acquired through formal education and nurtured in industry. It formed the foundation that was relied upon throughout the entire transition process.

The process of transitioning from an engineering manager to engineering professor is now complete. It was an interesting and rewarding journey spanning three years with many peaks and valleys. Along the way many interesting discoveries were made and lessons learned. This paper describes the evolution and progress occurring during the third year and reflects briefly on the entire transition process. It offers both hope and encouragement for those in the engineering profession considering a similar career change into education.


The third year as a full-time engineering professor began with a great deal of optimism, anticipation, and expectation. As a seasoned veteran of two successful academic years this was quite understandable. Transferred engineering skills from industry had overcome all obstacles encountered along the way. Learning from and utilizing past experience would certainly make this academic year far easier and more productive than the first two. However this hope was almost immediately shattered by a host of new duties and responsibilities.

Once again new courses had to be prepared, curriculum reviewed and revised, committee work performed, and of course the quest for tenure persisted. Additional tasks included advising students, writing grant proposals, preparing for an accreditation visit, and readying the department for a move into a new building as soon as the academic year was over. Of course

Loendorf, W. (2006, June), Transitioning From Industry To Education: The Third Year Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--178

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