I Graduated, Now What? An Overview of the Academic Engineering Education Research Job Field and Search Process
2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access Proceedings
As an assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University, Dr. Alexandra Coso Strong works and teaches at the intersection of engineering education, faculty development, and complex systems design. Alexandra completed her doctorate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech in Spring 2014. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Alexandra received a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from MIT (2007) and a master's degree in systems engineering from the University of
... the University of Virginia (2010). Alexandra comes to FIU after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and three years as a faculty member at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Alexandra's research aims to improve the design of educational experiences for students by critically examining the work and learning environments of practitioners. Specifically, she focuses on (1) how to design and change educational and work systems through studies of practicing engineers and educators and (2) how to help students transition into, through and out of educational and work systems. Abstract As the field continues to grow, more and more people are challenged with finding academic engineering education research (EER) positions that align with their broad abilities and interests. In the context of academia, EER positions most commonly exist in engineering education departments, traditional engineering departments (e.g., mechanical, civil), and non-degree granting programs (e.g., centers for teaching and learning, first-year engineering programs). These positions vary with regard to their emphasis on engineering education research, and provide access to different resources and mechanisms to impact engineering education. The purpose of this research was to better understand the academic EER job market as it relates to what applicants (i.e., graduates and post-docs) experience as they navigate the job-search and decision-making process. We reviewed the ASEE Educational and Research Methods (ERM) listserv for academic job postings over the past two and a half job search cycles (August 2017 to December 2019) to determine what academic job opportunities existed for early-career engineering education researchers. Concurrently, interviews were conducted with seven earlycareer EER faculty members to get a more detailed understanding of their academic job search and decision-making process. This paper captures the diversity of academic positions along with the types of institutions to provide a starting point for individuals on their job search process. It also provides an overview of the academic job search process timeline and professional and personal elements that can impact the decision-making process when selecting an academic job.