(366e) Blending Teaching, Research and Writing Textbooks

Wankat, P. C. - Presenter, Purdue University
In the early years of teaching engineering as an academic discipline instead of an apprenticeship, teaching was the main function of professors. Research was one of several methods to stay abreast of changes in engineering and to stay intellectually active. This view remained common even after the Second World War had illustrated the power of research. For example, the opening of NSF brought forth the comment, “it would in fact be surprising if more than 500 or 1000 engineering professors would be interested in a federal research program” [1, p. 60]. A combination of war experiences, the availability of research money, the ASEE Grinter report, and the shock of Sputnik in 1957 led to the engineering science revolution in engineering education [2]. This change took time but was in place when I attended Purdue. Currently, about 2/3 of professors at research institutions are more interested in research than teaching [3, p. 421]. Regardless of one’s interest, how do professors blend teaching, research and service, and in the process balance their lives? I will present my story of teaching, research, and writing textbooks in both separations and education. I am well aware that my story may be “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” [4]

1. Stewart, IRE Trans. Educ., 1 (2) 54–61, 1958.

2. Froyd, Wankat and Smith, Proceedings of the IEEE, 100, 1344-1360 (2012)

3. Wankat and Oreovicz, Teaching Engineering, 2nd ed., Purdue University Press: West Lafayette, IN (2015).

4. Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth, speech by Macbeth, probably first performed in 1606.