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Which "Me" am I Today? The Many Disciplines and Skill Sets of Engineering Educators

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Developing New Engineering Educators

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

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Paper Authors


Jennifer Karlin University of Southern Maine

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Jennifer Karlin spent the first half of her career at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where she was a professor of industrial engineering and held the Pietz professorship for entrepreneurship and economic development. She is now at the University of Southern Maine where she is a research professor of engineering and the curriculum specialist for the Maine Regulatory Training and Ethics Center.

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Donna M. Riley Virginia Tech

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Donna Riley is Professor and Interim Department Head in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She is a former Program Director of the Engineering Education Program at the National Science Foundation and served as a founding faculty member of Smith College's Picker Engineering Program from 2001-2014. She is an ASEE Fellow and the 2012 recipient of the Sterling Olmsted Award from the Liberal Education/Engineering and Society Division.

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Every discipline has three distinct but general roles: practitioner, researcher, and trainer. Researchers are those who design, build, test, and validate the theories, tools, and standards used by the practitioners. Trainers are the educators, whether at colleges and universities or through professional development opportunities, who instruct and/or mentor the current practitioners as well as those individuals who would like to enter the ranks of the practitioners. It is possible for a single individual to hold one, two, or all three of these roles, such as a university professor who teaches, conducts research, and consults in the same engineering discipline.

As Engineering Education has been specifically defined and labeled as a discipline, it is reasonable to apply the general conceptual model to this special case. Therefore, in the discipline of Engineering Education:

· Practitioners are classroom instructors, many of whom are also researchers in another engineering discipline. High level practitioners seek to effectively incorporate teaching and learning initiatives supported by the literature of the Engineering Education discipline.

· Researchers are scholars conducting rigorous, scientific studies in response to engineering education questions and submitting the questions, methods, and results to peer review.

· Trainers are the engineering education faculty, leaders and facilitators of professional development opportunities, and peer mentors who help practitioners improve teaching and learning.

Again, it is possible for a single individual to hold one, two, or all three of these roles. Often, a single individual holds one or multiple roles in the Engineering Education discipline while holding one or multiple roles in additional discipline. This paper further illustrates the overlapping professional roles held by engineering educators and uses Arreola and Theall’s “meta-professional” model to describe the skill sets needed both by discipline and by role to help guide faculty and those who mentor faculty in finding resources. Using the meta-professional model also allows us demonstrate skill subsets that are critical to success in faculty evaluation across teaching, research, and service.

Karlin, J., & Riley, D. M. (2017, June), Which "Me" am I Today? The Many Disciplines and Skill Sets of Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29123

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