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Working Toward Tenure in a Teaching-focused Branch Campus

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Innovative Development for Various Faculty Lines

Tagged Divisions

Environmental Engineering and Faculty Development Division

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Shannon L. Isovitsch Parks P.E. University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

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Dr. Shannon Parks is a registered Professional Engineer with 20 years of broad-based experience in the water resources and environmental engineering fields. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Science and doctoral degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently teaching water resources and environmental engineering at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Prior to joining University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Dr. Parks worked for over seven years at the Alcoa Technical Center focusing on development and commercialization of sustainable wastewater treatment and solid waste reuse technologies. She also served as a member of the Alcoa Foundation Board of Directors, providing environmental expertise to support the Foundation’s focus areas of Environment, Empowerment, and Education, as well as her experience with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for women. Prior to joining Alcoa in 2008, Dr. Parks worked for approximately seven years as a consultant to government agencies, municipalities, and industrial clients performing water resources engineering design and permitting. In addition to her corporate experience, Dr. Parks served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, supporting a local Non-Governmental Organization on water sanitation projects.

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Beginning a career as a tenure-track environmental engineering professor varies widely depending on one's institution and background. This paper focuses on the experiences of a tenure-track environmental engineering professor at a teaching-focused branch campus of an R1 university. Responsibilities include teaching, professional development, and service in both the water resources and environmental engineering disciplines within a civil engineering department. Tenure requirements are discussed as well as sources of formal and informal support such as colleagues, orientation classes, and the ASCE ExCEEd program. Challenges such as time and funding constraints are also addressed. Finally, a comparison of experience in academia compared to industry is made. This paper can be useful to those considering a career in academia and to administrators looking for insight into the best practices and challenges of a tenure-track professor on a teaching focused campus. This paper supplements a panel discussion and group of papers discussing experiences from environmental engineering professors from a variety of institutions.

Parks, S. L. I. (2020, June), Working Toward Tenure in a Teaching-focused Branch Campus Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35708

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