Froyd presents webinar for IEEE Global Early Career Faculty Development series

November 21, 2013
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Dr. Jeffrey E. Froyd, TEES research professor, presented a webinar,"Developing a 5-7 Year Career Plan,"Nov. 15as part of the IEEE Global Early Career Faculty Development Virtual Mini-Conference series. Approximately 340 faculty members and future faculty members from around the world were logged into the virtual mini-conference when it was offered.

In his talk, Froyd presented four elements that are at the center of every faculty member's career plans: a networking plan, a mentoring plan, a research plan and a teaching plan.

He first focused on the importance of developing an individual and effective networking plan that builds a network of people who can support the faculty member. Froyd provided suggestions to identify the best type of plan for a faculty member's networking style. These included attending conferences, on- campus seminars, submitting research to journals and having an online presence.

When Froyd addressed the mentoring plan he stressed the importance of need-based mentoring plan rather than a people-based mentoring plan. Froyd said it is a common misconception for a faculty member to think they only need one mentor and encouraged the audience members to seek multiple mentors to meet multiple needs.

While discussing the research plan, Froyd told his audience that research is not just about doing research. Research is about communication: writing papers, writing proposals, and preparing presentations, recruiting graduate students, and more. Improved research plans are not just about more papers, more proposals or more graduate students. An improved research plan is about a better process.

Froyd suggested some methods to improve a faculty member's research plan, including focusing on a few major themes; reviewing the plan with multiple mentors to solicit improvements and having mentors who flood your plan with ideas and suggestions rather than just approve; and constructing a plan to recruit graduate students.

Lastly, Froyd addressed the teaching plan. He said the key attributes to a teaching plan are efficiency (research shows that new faculty members often teach inefficiently) and effectiveness (by using instructional strategies appropriate to the course learning outcomes). Froyd suggested outlining a teaching plan by addressing the following areas:

  • Deciding which courses you would like to teach in the next five to seven years and why
  • Finding a process to efficiently develop and improve a course
  • Identifying teaching mentors and resources

Froyd concluded the webinar with a discussion on synergy.

"You should not develop the elements independently," Froyd said. "Instead, you should intentionally look for opportunities to make one or more of the elements work together so that one activity addresses multiple elements."

He provided ideas to achieve a career plan that is efficient and effective. Using these ideas faculty members can accomplish more than one area of a career plan at a time:

  • Designing synergy by being intentional about making elements of the career plan work together
  • Starting with two of the elements of your career
  • Generating options that will address both elements concurrently

Froyd said that one of the best ways for faculty members to achieve synergy is simply by preparing and scheduling time for the activities to make them happen.

Froyd is an IEEE Fellow, American Society for Engineering Education Fellow, editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Education and senior associate editor of the Journal of Engineering Education.

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