College professors work in an environment that is exciting and intellectually stimulating. Students archetypically have a different attitude toward learning, the requirements, and the rigors of the course. They expect and embrace the professor’s efforts to affect student engagement, accept, and realize the assignments are designed to ensure comprehension. Students have paid a financial price for a seat in class, which means students have a vested interest in their education. They are not in attendance because of mandatory attendance laws, but because they choose to be a particular class.
College students are more focused, disciplined, and serious learners; they proverbially have “their eyes on the prize” which could be career advancement, a college degree that will be instrumental in the establishment of a career, or personal enrichment. College professors have the task and objective of preparing their students for the future because those students theoretically are “ the future”. One day, the reins of control will be entrusted to them, and placed in their hopefully capable, educated, and prepared hands after successful matriculation.
College Professor: Job Responsibilities
The college professor is responsible for classroom management; college classes are considerably larger than public school enrollment. Often, in large universities, there are several hundred students in one lecture hall. Students are more mature; they are serious students wanting an education, students with a purpose, and a success plan; there rarely is a discipline problemin the college classroom. Classes are considerably longer; classes are in session from 90 minutes to three hours in classes with a laboratory such as biology, chemistry, physics, or anatomy, which requires a longer attention span for the student and the instructor.
Professors must formulate and teach from a daily lesson plan from which lecture notes are devised to dispense the required information to students in a systematic and sequential format. Additionally, professors must develop evaluative measures to determine the student’s level of comprehension and conceptualization, usually through scheduled periodic exams, the dreaded mid-term, and finals.
Tenured professors, typically read current periodicals and literature to keep abreast and apprised of developments in their field. They are significantly involved in research in their particular field and are responsible for new developments. Many contribute to scholastic and academic journals, write textbooks, and create electronic media resources. Most regularly attend or present at conferences and seminars in their specialized field of study.
Some instructors must actively utilize computer technology in order to teach distance education courses. They may be required, especially in the sciences, to consult with government entities regarding their research and findings that may be beneficial to humanity.
College Professor: Training and Education
Most tenured professors and department heads have earned a PHD Degree or a Doctorate, which requires six years of additional study after the bachelor’s degree is completed. Adjunct professors and associate professors must minimally have earned a Master’s degree and more than 21 postgraduate hours in the subject they are instructing. Teaching assistants are usually graduate students working toward a PHD. They may teach an introductory course, assist in the preparation of lectures, grade exams and papers, assist students, oversee laboratory activities, or monitor study group activities and interactions.
Full-time faculty members serve on administrative or academic committees. They provide input on departmental and disciplinary issues, budgets, and the purchase of equipment. Department chairs have both academic and administrative duties concurrently.
All professors should be able to communicate effectively and relate to the students, enjoy working with their students, and be effective motivators. They must exercise self-discipline and be able to work with little direct supervision. Additionally, professors should have well-developed analytical skills and have a sincere desire to dissipate knowledge effectively. Advancement into the tenure-track hierarchy is possible through diligence, an exemplary teaching record, research, positive contributions to the university or college, and additional studies will ensure success.
College Professor: Salary and Wages
The median-salary range for all postsecondary professors in 2008-2009 was $58,830; the lowest 10% earned $28,870, and the highest paid 10% earned $121,850. According to the American Association Of University Professors salaries were reported as follows: full-time professors or faculty members earned $79,439, associate or adjunct professors-$76,147, assistant professors-$63,827, instructors- $45,977, and lecturers earned $52,436. Unequivocally, college professors earn a lucrative salary and can earn additional income from serving as lecturers, research, and as consultants. However, other disciplines, such as science, medicine, engineering, and law command considerably higher salaries.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
College Professor: Certifications
The hierarchy or certification progression is as follows: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Most colleges and universities tend to use limited contracts, such as a 2-5 year contract rather than tenure as tenured positions are relatively difficult to obtain.
Tenure is usually granted if the board’s review is favorable. If it is not favorable, the employee is unable to continue teaching at the university. If tenure is granted, the tenured professor cannot be terminated without just cause and is able to support or research unpopular ideas without fear of repercussions, such as being terminated. This freedom provides stability for the university and the research endeavors are beneficial in establishing the professor as an expert in his field.
College Professor: Professional Associations
Some of the most prestigious organizations are Who’s Who (Colleges and Universities) and the American Association of University Professors. The NEA or National Education Association is another popular organization as well as belonging to the Commonwealth of Learning and Scholarly Associations.