Abstract: Context: This paper describes the Engineer in Residence position as it applies to the staff at CSU Engineering. This position was originally envisioned as a mechanism for providing role models for student engineers, much as artist in residence programs give aspiring artists access to real artists. Engineers in Residence have been incorporated to provide a comprehensive staff and to bridge any possible divide between the university and engineering practice in the real world.
Purpose: Engineers in Residence play a key role in providing workplace ready cadets as well as helping secure work placement opportunities. They also can serve as role models for student engineers, provide bridges between academic and student engineers, and add value in other ways. The purpose of this paper is to explore which roles are best utilised, which roles could be better utilised, and what might be the best path forward.
Approach: The paper will investigate the difference between the role envisioned by the founders of CSU Engineering and the actual day to day life of an Engineer in Residence. It also will identify the benefits of having Engineers in Residence within CSU Engineering, and explore the mechanisms of maintaining these benefits as the Engineers in Residence are no longer working in industry. Qualitative data will be collected from reflections by the Engineers in Residence, Foundation Professor and Course Director.
Results: It is expected that the day to day life of an Engineer in Residence is quite different from the original job description and that the benefits are also greater than would have been expected. For example, preliminary results indicate a greater level of involvement in teaching and academia than originally envisioned. The Engineers in Residence have also displayed different perspectives on course content and different approaches to mentoring of student engineers.
Conclusions: CSU Engineering has received very positive benefits from having Engineers in Residence. In part this results from the individuals on the team, in part from the environment at CSU Engineering, and in part from luck. The Engineers in Residence have quickly established strong connections between CSU and the engineering industry.
Plans for the future include maintaining the current positive team environment whilst providing a mechanism for obtaining recent, relevant engineering experience, and appropriate career opportunities for all staff. Whilst this role is currently unique amongst universities in Australia it is worth investigating how the benefits would apply to other engineering schools.
To cite this article: Devitt, Joshua; Cameron, Shara and Morgan, Jim. What is an engineer in residence? [online]. In: 27th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education : AAEE 2016. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, 2016: 204-210.
[cited 28 May 17].