Next Level program welcomes 20 faculty into inaugural fellows class

Published: Apr 15, 2024 10:00 AM

By Cassie Montgomery

Twenty Auburn Engineering faculty are ready to take their classes to the next level.

The cross-disciplinary career development and reflective writing program known as Next Level launched in the fall of 2023 and will begin the 2024 academic year with 20 faculty fellows ready to integrate career readiness material into their existing engineering courses. The program is an expansion of the reach of the Engineering Office of Career Development and Corporate Relations (CDCR) which provides a wide variety of resources to students, such as career coaching, class presentations, facilitation of career development and corporate events, and hosting career fairs that foster connections to experiential and full-time opportunities. CDCR is excited to expand upon approaches to empower students in their career development through partnerships with engineering faculty and academic programs that integrate career development within a student's academic experience at optimal intervals in their curriculum. 

The Next Level program is designed to improve students’ first destination satisfaction and career readiness after college. It consists of academic assignments with a focus on career development and reflective writing for incorporation in the classroom, embedding career development within the academic experience and signaling the significance of it for all students. Through the fellowship program, project organizers hope to expand access to more engineering students. The inaugural class of Next Level faculty fellows covers all engineering departments and will reach all course levels, with an emphasis on 3000 and 4000 level courses.

Hunter Burch is an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering and a new Next Level faculty fellow for fall 2024. In his lab course, RF Systems Lab, students design and build AM radio receivers. He sees the opportunity to incorporate Next Level coursework into his existing lessons as a way to help students grow into well-rounded engineers. 

“Unlike some labs where you assemble, test and disassemble a new circuit each week, this course results in a finished ‘product,’ the AM radio, where each part of the radio was built and tested week after week. I see my course as the perfect opportunity to develop both the technical skills expected of an RF engineer and the ‘soft skills’ like producing readable documentation, pitching product improvement, and managing budgets and timetables for design products,” he said.

“I hope that through my participation in the Next Level faculty fellows program, my students will be better prepared for both the technical and nontechnical aspects of a career in electrical engineering.”

Faculty fellows will receive training and feedback from the Next Level program committee on individual course implementation plans. In turn, faculty will have access to ready-made assignments geared to specific course levels. All assignments have defined outcomes with associated National Association of Colleges and Employers career-ready competencies as well as student outcomes set by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. 

More information about the Next Level program and the faculty fellowship can be found at:

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery,, 334.844.3668
Hunter Burch, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, is a member of the inaugural class of Next Level faculty fellows.

Hunter Burch, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, is a member of the inaugural class of Next Level faculty fellows.

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