Energy/Materials Webinar

How to Combine Research, Teaching, and Service to Benefit Science and Students

Darren J. Lipomi, Purdue University

Time: Sept 30, 2022, 7 PM EST


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Abstract. The success of a professor at an R1 research university is judged by their ability to combine research, teaching, and service. However, these three pillars of academic work are not usually closely aligned. For example, high productivity in research does not automatically imply achievement of learning outcomes in teaching. In fact, as there are only so many hours in a day, the devotion of effort in one of the three areas almost always detracts from one’s ability to make an impact in the other two. Moreover, scientists and engineers who eventually become professors are typically trained most intensively in research. That is, they may not have a strong grasp of strategies for teaching and learning, nor in the managerial and political aspects of the most impactful types of service work. In this talk, I describe my journey in the first ten years of my academic career. In particular, I discuss how—at first accidentally and then deliberately—I attempted to synthesize the often competing mandates of research, teaching, and service. Some of what I have discovered is idiosyncratic to my own growing interests at the intersection of materials engineering and behavioral science, but other strategies I have stumbled upon are more general. Among these are how the selection of committee, teaching, mentoring roles, and peer review assignments can be used to strengthen your research. Moreover, training you can acquire, such as business, management, and psychology, can supercharge all aspects of your scientific life. The use of these strategies and this knowledge can make the mandate of combining research, teaching, and service not just something that can be managed, but something from which one can derive great satisfaction.


Darren J. Lipomi, Biographical Sketch

Darren J. Lipomi is a professor in the Department of Nano and Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean for Students at the University of California, San Diego. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in physics at Boston University in 2005. He earned his PhD in chemistry at Harvard in 2010. From 2010 – 2012, he was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford. His research interests are at the interface between the chemistry of materials and human perception. He is the recipient of the Air Force Young Investigator award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the NSF BRITE award.