As a professor, I'm always interested in the way we are perceived.
Some say we are only teachers, or that we stay in our offices 24/7, reading books and manuscripts about theoretical foundations in our field.
While there are professors who do this, this is not always the case.
I am not a typical professor.
You can tell when you look around my office, where Angry Birds, "Doctor Who" and "Minions" posters cover my desk and walls.
While I have a unique background to share with my students, it is important to understand how the role of a professor has evolved over the years.
There are many reasons why professors are more than just teachers, and here are some areas where they can help both students and young professionals:
Professors are natural resources for networking connections and opportunities.
Professors have to wear many hats and be connected not only within the field of academia, but also in practice.
We are seeing a rise of professors getting on social media for this very purpose.
This is why I am such a huge supporter of using social media in the classroom.
Twitter is my professional contact Rolodex (not email, not even LinkedIn). Knowing what areas my students are interested is key for me.
This allows me to think about the connections I know, so I can connect my students to them.
Professors are masters in time management practices and multitasking.
We sometimes assume the only duty or obligation professors have is teaching, but that’s not the case.
We have a lot of things going on at any given time.
Yes, I have a certain schedule each semester that focuses on teaching classes.
But there are also committee meetings, faculty meetings, paper submission deadlines, conference calls for research projects, consulting opportunities, networking functions and conference preparation.
We wear many hats, and are aware of the best practices to implement them, which could be helpful for students and young professionals.
Professors work as hard as many student-athletes and coaches.
Professors are hardworking individuals, and students can learn from their work ethic.
Even though I am no longer competing as an athlete, I still have that training mentality, and I approach my work as such. This leads to better work.
As a professor who teaches a social media class, I have to keep up with the trends constantly.
I do a little bit each day to better understand what's happening in my field.
Students can adopt similar practices so they are constantly on top of their work.
Professors are not mind readers, so communicating with us is key.
There are many things we are good at as professors, but unfortunately, mind reading is not one of them. We can’t help unless you let us know.
That being said, approach your professor at his or her office hours, bring forth ideas and questions, ask for feedback and guidance and even connect with him or her on social media.
Professors really value mentoring.
Along with producing research and teaching, we love to mentor young professionals and students.
This is one of the main reasons we wanted to become professors.
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing our former students shine.
We want to help you find new opportunities.
Professors want students to not only understand the content that is being covered in the class, but to also gain passion and excitement for their chosen field.
We are not looking for students to fit a “cookie-cutter” mentality.
Everyone has different interests, goals and objectives for their career, and we want to help each individual find his or her own unique fit.