Imagine a group of people who are packing for a trip to a number of different university grounds in Europe. Along the way we will get a bite, or thirty (we will be walking a lot ok?), of delicious food. This is just a detail of course. Due to rather complicated air-flight itineraries, you may wish us good luck to make it to Zurich on time and full of energy. When curious, follow us on twitter: #gppvt19. So what did this cohort do to deserve such an experience?

We participated in at least two relevant classes that comprise the Future Professoriate graduate certificate. In short, we are preparing to become faculty. Does this require preparation? Well, I have heard a few stories from faculty that joined academia 10 to 30 years ago:

  • Nobody taught us how to teach.
    If you feel that learning how to learn is important in today’s society, then I argue that it is equally important that teachers learn how to teach. I feel I could use some practice in being a teacher.
  • When I joined academia it was about teaching students; now it is about bringing in business.
    Institutions are redefining their business models through new visions and missions. For example, online learning allows for online universities that offer only distance-education. A landmark university will probably have a very different business model from an online university. When you know what you need to learn, an online university can train you. When you want to become a deliberate thinker, a landmark university takes you away from your previous environment and stimulates you to think within a somewhat controllable environment. I feel I could use some practice in thinking between local and global perspectives on higher education.
  • The job of an academic is lonely and the pay is not good.
    There are different kinds of academic gears (say tenure track, prof. of practice, and adjunct faculty). There are different kinds of socioeconomic gears, otherwise none of our institutions would work. There are different states in the US. Let’s take an arbitrary look in Illinois teacher salaries and New Jersey teacher salaries without looking into the cost and conditions of living there. Should I get the opportunity to do so, I feel I could use some insight on academic jobs and environments to make an informed decision about where and how I may join faculty.
  • I spent most of my time applying for funding.
    I feel I could use some practice in applying for funding to diverse types of agencies (such as the NSF and the SNF) as well as the Industry.

In summary, a team will emerge out of the GPP 2019 cohort. We don’t know how it will look like, but we do know that this trip will transform our group into a team entrusted with making higher education more global and more effective in current socioeconomic challenges such as acquiring higher education.

I would write some more, but I ‘ve got to pack. I feel I need to go on this trip!