Engineering Societies and Facilitating Measures of Faculty Impact

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August 01, 2018 AT 02:36 PM
Georgia Institute of Technology
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A workshop sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering

Traditionally, engineering faculty are expected to contribute to and be evaluated in three areas: research, teaching and service with the common perception being that research has the highest priority, especially at doctoral universities. In each of these areas the key question often asked is what is the impact of the faculty member and how is it evaluated. But this is not a static question. Engineering education is changing. Engineering education is becoming increasingly hands-on rather than solely lectures on concepts and theory. Teaching is increasingly a team activity, especially in interdisciplinary areas. Research on engineering education has become an accepted part of engineering scholarship. The make-up of faculty is shifting as well with more teaching faculty and “Professors of the Practice.” Outside activities such as student competitions are now considered to be important parts of the educational experience. The concept of service by faculty members includes student mentoring (internal to the institution) and professional engagement activities (external to the institution).

As engineering education changes, the criteria for reappointment, promotion and tenure (RPT) may need to be viewed more broadly. One way to broaden the view is by looking that the impact of faculty on the engineering profession. But “impact” has an imprecise meaning and can easily vary from one institution to another as well as from one situation to another.

The issue of faculty evaluation was raised as an item of concern at a national workshop held last year by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) on the engagement of engineering societies in undergraduate engineering education. As a result, the NAE held a follow-up workshop to explore how engineering societies may help define and articulate the concept of faculty impact as part of the RPT process. Engineering societies hold a unique position as a link between engineering education (academia) and engineering practice (industry).

The meeting took place on February 12, 2018, at the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The meeting brought together over 45 faculty members, college administrators, professional society officials, industry representatives and other interested individuals to explore the issue.

The workshop began by highlighting the changes occurring in engineering education. Speakers and participants then examined models for identifying and assessing impacts from other disciplines and nations and from a variety of educational institutions. The last session of the day turned to opportunities for engineering societies to help define faculty impact.

The proceedings of the workshop was published in July.

Workshop Agenda

The workshop is an outgrowth of the NAE workshop in early 2017 on the "Engagement of Engineering Societies in Undergraduate Engineering Education." For more information, please contact Ken Jarboe, Senior Program Officer at

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