Striving to balance the faculty load

Thomas Salem, Elizabethtown College


New colleagues in engineering education are faced with an assortment of time demands and constraints. Typically, these demands may be grouped into four broad categories: professional growth, service activities, pedagogical development, and personal life. Obtaining a balance in these areas is critical for personal health and well being. This paper will explore three primary activities that have significantly impacted my efforts to balance the faculty load. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work in a variety of industrial and academic settings. These experiences have been spread across the spectrum of large Fortune 500 corporations to smaller private companies and large state universities to small private colleges. Along the way, I've observed many successful people - employees getting promoted and faculty gaining tenure and have been able to discern some common personality traits, characteristics, and work habits that have contributed to their success. From this basis, I've focused on three primary activities to achieve a successful balance in my load. The first step is to know yourself - your goals, requirements to achieve your goals, and your personality (or more broadly, how you work). The next step is to organize yourself develop a detailed action plan, wisely choose how and when to invest your time, and work with your strengths while correcting areas of weakness. The final step is to manage yourself - don't rely upon a boss or a colleague to lead you to success, develop mentoring relationships, and keep these activities alive and ongoing.