Young Engineers Point of View: Lessons for the New Professor

July
,
2018

A new academic year is just around the corner, which means new beginnings. If you are starting your first faculty position, congratulations! This new role will demand your time, as well as skills and responsibilities you may not have tapped into before. I found the transition to be exciting and somewhat overwhelming. Any feelings of unease can be managed with careful planning and realistic expectations.

The internet offers a plethora of advice for new professors, which can be overwhelming in and of itself. Search for the phrase “advice for new engineering faculty” and you will get over 40 million hits. To help focus this advice, here are some of my experiences and takeaways from the past four years.

Create and cultivate new connections. It can take years to establish good working relationships, so it is best to start as soon as possible. The earlier you start reaching out and asking for help, the easier it gets, the better equipped you will be, and the more you will interact with your colleagues. Although teaching a core course may be new to you, it has been taught year after year, so ask the previous year’s instructor for their course materials. I spent the summer before my first semester of teaching reviewing the textbook and creating lecture notes from scratch — work I could have minimized.

Once on campus, make connections with faculty outside of...

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