Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How Should a Professor Be?

Inside Higher Ed
September 2nd, 2015

Academic fads come and go; administrators do, too. Buildings are torn down and new ones go up. Students seem to keep getting younger. Throughout these fluctuations, one thing about college life remains constant: professors are in the middle of it all. And in the middle, there can be a lot of pressure. From one side, there’s the administration, which must account for bottom-line finances and ultimately decide what programs are maintained, invested in, rightsized or cut. From another side, there are the students (and their parents) who, justifiably or not, are seen as customers who are always right -- or at the very least, customers who have paid for and deserve a good product. (Yes, for better or worse, education is a product and professors are its producers.) In the push-pull of these forces, professors are often left to their own devices. But what are these devices? What strategies are helpful in the daily work of teaching, research and university service? Put simply: How should a professor be?

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