June 13, 2012, 10:22 am
The fall semester is around the corner and at colleges and universities throughout the nation, new faculty members will be starting their jobs very soon. Being a new faculty member is both exciting and scary. It’s exciting because your whole career is out in front of you waiting to be fulfilled. It’s scary because you are walking into a new environment that already has a well-established culture, you rarely know anyone, and these new people are going to judge your performance, in many cases, deciding your academic fate at some point.
I mentor quite a few young faculty members around the country and they often tell me about the ways they are treated. Sometimes it is disheartening to listen to their experiences—many of these experiences being negative. Recently, one of these faculty members told me how lonely he is in his position because he receives little support, faculty…
March 30, 2012, 10:45 am
Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I give him or her the long version of “professor.” I find that most people assume professors only teach and are unaware of all the other things we do.
David C. Levy, a former university administrator, recently wrote an essay in The Washington Post titled “Do College Professors Work Hard Enough?” In his essay, Levy claims that faculty members are paid at a rate that is equal to other positions that require advanced degrees. I’m going to assume that he means doctors, lawyers, and business people. He concludes that the higher salaries of faculty members are a positive change in comparison to the past, but thinks that faculty members don’t work hard enough to deserve these salaries. Of note, Levy does spare those faculty members at research institutions from his critique. Faculty members like me. Regardless, there are several…
September 19, 2011, 11:26 am
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about meanness and how it manifests within the academy. My conclusion is that it might just result from our insecurities and perhaps our professional jealousies.
As professors we are taught to be critical. We learn to interrogate arguments and to criticize the work of those who have explored a body of research before us. This is what we are supposed to do. Some of us learn how to offer critique in respectful ways, but others were taught just the opposite.
All too often anonymous reviewers try to skewer journal article and book authors. They hide behind the peer-reviewed process and foist their feelings of superiority on others. Most reviewers are helpful and kind in their comments, but every so often someone attempts to make you feel less than human. Thoughtful editors will typically tell authors to ignore these comments and concentrate on …
November 27, 2010, 3:23 am
A student recently said to me, “You make being a professor look fun.” I smiled. I do love being a professor. Often times, I think that we faculty members give students the idea that being a professor is a drag. I realize that my experience is not that of everyone but I do think it’s important for those of us who love our jobs to talk about why.
The idea of being paid to think and write about anything I’d like does it for me. Of course, I need to stay within the confines of my areas of expertise but overall, I have a lot of freedom to write about anything within the larger scope of education—and that’s fairly broad. As a tenured professor, I also have the freedom to write in a variety of different venues—peer reviewed journals, books, encyclopedias, blogs, op-eds, policy reports, etc. This variety keeps my thinking process fresh, which is important.
I also have the…