It is time to change the perception of what a college professor looks like, behave like and acts like. The old (yet cliche) description of an old white haired scholar addressing only a group of intellectuals interested in the fine details of a green leaf located somewhere in Kabul and its effects on the evolution of spiders isn’t necessarily what academia is today, especially for me. I personally don’t care too much about conversations that were once preached in the Ivory Tower about topics that most people just couldn’t care less about. Is technology going to change my mind about higher education’s culture or solve the branding issue we have in academia today, as well as the definition of a professor? Very little.
Look, I don’t need to speak with that “identifiable” speech pattern to be understood or respected as a college professor. In fact, I could care less about speaking like a “Harvard Dean.” It really isn’t my cup of tea. Not sure about you but I don’t fit into the former category very well and frankly… I kind of like it. You can label me the “new” professor or let’s say, “the cool professor” who speaks like anyone else. The professor who speaks with students and family informally yet firmly and at the same time includes students to help advance academic units. It is time for higher education to be rebranded and I am taking the lead to start the revolution! It is long due, indeed.
We are in business for the students not for anybody else, at least morally. Students are not clients. Students are students. Students need professors who care and teach. The new professor must understand that in order to make a quantifiable difference in the life of a student, they themselves must look at their own selves. what are you doing to facilitate conversation between you (as a professor) and your students? I listen and try to better understand them. I recommend you to do the same. Do we need to help students in a college classroom, only? Of course not. The new professor understands that.
Occasionally, faculty members should (along with university staff) assist students with their intellectual developments outside the classroom. One of the ways faculty could be more involved in student development is by getting involved in activities that interest them, sometimes in the student center during lunch time. We don’t need to be boring in order to educate students. Sometimes, a good game of ping-pong can be the ticket for students to better understand the importance of preparation, practice and humility.
Martin Luther King Jr, once said, “I have a dream…” Well, I have a dream, as well. My dream is that we re-evaluate the professor’s persona and realign this goofy bunch into a more mundane species in american society. There is no need for that much formality if one is to inevitably make an impact in the life of a student. Professionalism? Yes. Stuffy professors? No thanks. Is it too much to ask? I hope not.