Be a Catalyst for Change

Professors change the world, once student at a time.

I’m regularly asked about my transition to academia. The first question I ask the professional considering the switch is whether he or she has the commitment and the courage to do it.  

It is a distinct privilege to hold a faculty position, no matter what institution you land in. As a professor, you have the chance to make a difference in the lives of others–students, faculty colleagues, the department, the university, and the surrounding community. As a professor, all these groups expect you to be a catalyst of change.  

In my new book So You Want to Be a Professor: How to Land Your Dream Job in Academia, I go beyond how to land a job in academia and share advice on how to be successful as a professor. This is the time to not only empower students to learn the structures and knowledge to succeed, but also to provide value from the wisdom you have accumulated during your years of working. As a professor, you have the opportunity to teach them as a whole class but to change them one student at a time. Students will remember you forever if they see you really pulling for them.  

Your colleagues can benefit from your experience, too. Help them consider new research opportunities. Connect them with your vast network of former colleagues, customers, suppliers, even competitors. Look for ways to help the department be more vital, better funded, more efficient, and more prominent in the field.  

I wish you luck in your journey to jump to the front of the line. It’s a difficult journey, but worth it. I hope my new book can help you get there. After all, you come this way only once.