NMU boasts an impressive line up of over 300 full-time faculty members in numerous academic departments. These faculty members have come from across the country, and some from across the globe, to educate the over 8,000 NMU students each year.
While most of us call our teachers in college “professors,” there are actually many distinctions that separate a professor from an assistant professor, an associate professor, an instructor and an adjunct faculty member.
To obtain and maintain tenure, professors and aspiring professors must do a certain amount of professional work outside of academics in their field of study.
Therefore, many professors come to academia to continue ground-breaking research or write their next novel, but across the nation, professors are losing their chance at tenure if they aren’t pursuing a robust publishing schedule outside of the classroom.
The situation is known as “publish or perish,” an equation that pits effective teaching against voluminous research and discounts students’ interests. What concerns us as students is this: if professors are mainly here to conduct research, write journal articles or author a book, how much time are they devoting to preparing a quality classroom experience for the students?
We have all had an experience of the professor that clearly didn’t care enough about teaching, not to mention doesn’t really even know how to effectively teach content. Understanding the value of a good teacher is falling to the wayside because it matters more now how accomplished they are in their field.
Of course we want our professors to be successful people who have real world experiences to share with their classes. We all support them continuing to pursue their passions while at NMU.
A professor with an ability to accomplish these additional works while at NMU only provides the students with a more well-rounded education.
However, getting rid of teachers just because they don’t bring some fantastic recognition along with them seems wrong.
Should a possible candidate for a new biology professor have lots of research experience and an impressive degree? Definitely, yes. But he or she should also have character, personality and an ability to make students excited to be studying biology.
Take a moment to think about who you would call your favorite teacher. For most, it is probably one who was enthusiastic, interesting and passionate.
They were memorable not for how flashy their resume was, but because they cared about your success and made you excited about learning.
How a professor reaches the students can make or break an education. It would be disappointing to hear that the interested and interesting professor is forgotten because he or she hasn’t published enough.
Professors should be both intellectual and charismatic, both academically professional and personable.
Holding an impressive piece of paper doesn’t automatically assume passion for something.