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I'm Swamped!
Dr. Naresh Kashyap calling a research colleague
Dr. Kashyap is busy juggling many roles as engineering faculty.
Dr. Naresh Kashyap is busy. He has many responsibilities in his second year as an assistant professor: teaching, advising students, research, and service. But he's struggling to balance the multiple responsibilities of faculty life with his personal life. He obtains advice from a colleague that helps him prioritize his work and make time to “have a life.”
Full Story:
Dr. Kashyap teaches one class a term in the software engineering department, is starting an NSF-funded research program, manages one graduate research assistant, and must attend departmental committee meetings. He also advises undergraduate and graduate students. On top of all this, he's learning to negotiate the university bureaucracy to manage his grant's budget. Each day requires prioritizing these competing work responsibilities.
Strategies Menu
To make matters worse, Naresh is struggling to balance the demands of his faculty life with his personal life. He works long hours—using evenings and weekends to read emails and grade homework—but he'd like to have more free time for himself, family, and friends.
Dr. Kashyap feels that he's effective in the classroom, but he has limited time. Teaching activities, such as preparing lectures or meeting with students, can easily consume his time and edge out research activities, which he enjoys and finds important to his standing in the field.
How much time should he spend on his teaching? He must figure out how to prioritize all of these professional and personal demands.
Naresh complained briefly to a colleague about the tension between competing faculty duties and “having a life.” The colleague recognized the struggles of new faculty and suggested they sit down and talk about this. When they met, Naresh's colleague outlined three suggestions:
Seek out a tenured colleague who has a balance that you respect and find out what he or she does.
  1. Write out the priorities in your life and realistically determine how much time you can put into each activity this term. Since everyone's faculty and personal commitments differ, that time is different for every person.
  2. Find ways to be efficient in teaching without changing your effectiveness. Prepare for your course in the hour or two before class so that the material is fresh. Grading could be simplified if you select meaningful ways to provide feedback to students.
  3. Ensure you are spending the necessary time on activities important to your long-term success, such as establishing your research program or developing relationships that can have a long-lasting impact. You may need to limit the time spent on course preparation. Consider scheduling an hour of scholarly writing each day or a weekly lunch with a mentor.
Naresh wrote out his priorities and scheduled his research and teaching activities. This led him to stick to a schedule more often. By focusing on more efficiency in his teaching, he freed up his weekends.
Allocating time
The key to handling the hectic workload of engineering faculty is to prioritize activities and realistically schedule time to work on important teaching, research, service, and personal activities. These links may inspire and guide you in time management.

Teaching Engineering: Efficiency (PDF)
The first section of this book chapter (pg 1 – 5) guides the engineering faculty member through establishing goals, priorities, and to-do lists to maximize efficiency.

New faculty member learns to manage her time
A short article profiling a new engineering faculty member whose perfectionism was her biggest time waster.

New Teachers in the Classroom: Time Management
Check out the links to “Professional Time Management” and “Time Management in Teaching” for advice to faculty.

Making Trade-Offs In Use of Faculty Time
Several strategies from faculty for managing time and balancing teaching and research.

A Juggling Act
The ASEE magazine Prism takes a look at engineering educators struggles and successes in striking the balance between work and family.
Increasing teaching efficiency
Teaching can take up a lot of time if allowed, so teaching activities should be limited for faculty to manage other responsibilities. Efficiency in teaching activities such as course preparation and grading is the key to striking the right balance.

Teaching Engineering: Efficiency (PDF)
Jump to section 2.5 on Teaching Efficiency (pp 11 - 13) for suggestions on spending an appropriate amount of time on teaching.

Class Preparation Time - Can You Overdo It?
Advice on allocating time to class preparation, including advice from science and engineering faculty.

Resources for Effective Grading
Suggestions for making grading more efficient, consistent, and fair. Spurred by grading concerns expressed by engineering faculty.

Rubrics, Scoring & Grading
Grading rubrics are helpful in making grading objective and efficient while communicating to students how they will be evaluated. This site explains rubrics used in engineering education.

Academic Success Without the Use of Tests (PDF)
Describes a freshmen engineering class in which daily quizzes replaced exams and the instructor reported increased student learning and class attendance while creating a manageable grading load.
Balancing many faculty roles
To achieve success, engineering faculty member must balance all the roles of the academy: teaching, research, and service. Success can be boosted through mentoring and networking. These links offer advice on achieving balance and finding support as new faculty.

The New Faculty Member
Insights and tips to help new faculty members be successful in balancing teaching, research, and service, as presented in the Robert Boice book of the same title.

“Things future professors don’t learn in school”
Article describing a summer workshop at Stanford to help future engineering and business professors be successful in the academy. Includes advice and support for advancing one’s research because of its importance to promotion.

Junior Faculty – How to Find Good Mentors (PowerPoint)
Suggests strategies for finding a mentor and explains why mentors are important. From a Stanford workshop on mentoring academic careers in engineering.
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