To the contrary of reality, often students imagine their Professor simply arriving on campus, picking up mail from a faculty mailbox, perhaps making one or two telephone calls in their office, and then heading to class. Truth is, the actual work of a College Professor is forever ongoing – many days, 24/7.
Committees and Professional Panel Participation
Professors serve on countless academic committees (in the roles of both Committee member and Committee Chair) for which the Professor must research, and prep for, sometimes extensively. Being prepared to serve on academic panels (both on and off one’s main campus) and/or to serve within academic seminars and workshops are often a given.
Book Review and Selections
Many Professors are charged with reviewing and selecting the best and most effective textbook for their students and often, for multi courses within their department. Most Professors have scheduled appointments with local and national Book Publishers or their representatives (or as often happens, are caught off guard when the reps inevitably wonder by).
Scheduled Office Hours
All Professors hold scheduled office hours dedicated solely to and for their individual students.
Professor Evaluations; Staff Developement Sessions; and Workshops
Many Professors contribute weekly slices of hours to update and maintain their academic portfolios, for various reasons, including for pedagogical evaluations (mandatory – regardless of tenure) – or simply for the purpose of escalating possibilities that their academic proposals will be granted financial funding. Its a given, that all professors are expected to be actively involved (and often) in Staff Developemnet workshops and professional presentations, for the purpose of learning new ways in meeting and maintaining academic excellence.
Moreover, most college Professors go about the business of reading, daily, various newspapers; pedagogical commentaries and academic viewpoints (found often inside their subscribed ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’); review specialized Journals to assure awareness of forever ongoing trends in Education
Networking; Supervision; Campus Event Planning and Additional Prep
Most Professors converse often, with various leaders throughout off-campus communities for the purpose of securing that these leaders will agree to visit, speak, and assist in inspiring their students. Many professors assure and monitor internships for their students overall career success. Professors also supervise students who work for them through work-study programs, in which they must also assure that state regulations and policies are being followed correctly, as well as schedule and attend to cumulative work hours.
Professors often utilize many hours within their workday, planning and implementing statewide; national; and/or international academic events – which require a great deal of preparation to assure high levels of success and positive publicity for their department, division, or overall, the college or university, in general. Professors must prepare their lectures and academic discussions, review and order academic film, and often create highly creative PowerPoint presentations to further inspire their students with forever ongoing trends in Education
Many College Professors spend countless hours, and sometimes years, to author academic textbooks. Many Professors utilize many hours of ‘at home’ time (in addition to before; between; and after giving lectures), to research and write about various academic dynamics; general knowledge regarding any specific entity; or simply writing about how to make the world a better place. Community College Professors must concentrate on teaching effectiveness. University Professors must write and assure constant publications.
Assuring Student Recongnition; Support; and Student Recommendations (both vebally and in writing)
Often, Professors create academic awards to further inspire and motivate their students. For me, ‘Leadership Awards’ for each class at semester’s end, have proven to be priceless in promoting further self confidence within my specific academic discipline (Speech Communications). The awards include ‘Most Likely to be Promoted to the Highest Ranks of His/Her Professions’ and ‘Most Likely to Lead our Nation within the Century’, and are especially rewarding because I, as Professor, have nothing to do with selecting the winner. The Award Receipient is selected by college peers.
Professors often meet, and converse with Human Resource professionals regarding current and former students’ academic achievements. Professionally and individually, I have been interviewed (several times, in fact) by such VIPs as the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to discuss, always in person, the ethics and character of students desiring to work within the American criminal justice arena, or specifically perhaps, desiring to work in Homeland Security.
Meeting Deadlines; Academic Curriculum Planning; Development; Implimentation; and Student Assessment
Professors always have deadlines (sometimes, critical) to meet, and federal and state reports to submit. Accredited universities and colleges require that their Professors participate actively in the planning; development; and implementation of general education curriculum requirements, as well as developing specific criteria for their individual academic department, including the assurance that crucial core skills and competencies are being taught and assessed appropriately and effectively. Of course, Professors are solely responsible for reading and evaluating essays; term papers; observing oral presentations; developing; and administering quizzes and exams (computerized or/and in writing).
Of course it’s a given that Professors are also required to read and respond to emails from students, college administrators, and other on and off-campus professionals and colleagues. Finally, but never least, Professors must also assure that their students with special needs receive proper and professional guidance and attention.
Grant Writing and Winning Funding
Many Professors spend a tremendous amount of time going about the business of assuring annual funding grants, for dynamic and prolific projects within their individual departments, and sometimes funding grants for the academic institution, itself. “Today, there is an increased emphasis on faculty securing additional funds to supplement traditional university budget sources” contributes Professor John Prescott in his book entitled A Career as a college Teacher, Professor. Professor Prescott further submits that “Gettin funds through outside sources, requires the faculty member to be or become knowledgeable about the resources for monies, and to develop the skill of grant writing” contributes Professor John Prescott in his book entitled A Career as a College Teacher, Professor.
While considering the overall multi tasks required by Professors, one certainly must ponder the years of study invested, in route to becoming a university or college Professor. “Paying Your Dues” is what the Editorial Staff of October 2011’s online publication The Priceton Review calls it. “The path to becoming a tenured college professor is arduous. While a masters degree may be sufficient to qualify to teach in a two-year college, a doctoral degree (after the masters degree) is required to teach in four year colleges and universities.” Moreover, says The Princeton Review’s staff, in their article entitled ‘Ph.D.s in route to success’ “PhD.s generally take four to seven years to complete, after completing two to three years of course work. The graduate student will (also) teach classes and write a dissertation, an original piece of research taking about three years to complete which is the most important element of the search for a first job as a professor. In addition, post-doctoral experience is an added advantage”.
Finally, The Princeton Review’s Editorial Staff concludes with an additonal fact “For the coveted tenure-track positions, virtually every successful job candidate now boasts at least one and usually two “post-doc” years, and these are necessary to remain competitive, which means gathering a sufficient backlog of publications and writings in progress”.
A typical day of an American University or College Professor is constructively filled with various and countless responsibilities. However, perhaps most significant, having an opportunity to teach; interact; motivate; and inspire the world’s future leaders is priceless.