I was recently delivering a guest lecture to first year undergraduate students. Prompted by questions regarding Connect2Teach, I asked for a show of hands of how many students wanted to pursue a career as a professor after graduation.
Not a single student raised their hand.
Next, I asked how many wanted access to a world-class education. Every single person in the room raised their hands.
I have done this exercise in multiple classrooms across the world and the results have not varied much. In this little game lies the greatest truth about the higher education sector. Expecting to deliver a great learner experience without investing in the right professors is the equivalent of expecting to profit from the stock market without investing any money.
This raises three questions:
- Why is a great professor integral to a great learning experience?
- What makes a great professor? and
- How is Connect2Teach getting great professors to facilitate great learning experiences?
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Why is a great professor integral to a great learner experience?
With content being so easily accessible, the role of a professor has changed. From simply delivering curriculum, they are now responsible for guiding students through learning choices. This requires facilitating discussions, developing soft skills, integrating industry know-how, sharing cross-sector knowledge, encouraging research and accelerating innovation.
At the very least, a good professor can help you discover your passion for his field. At the most, they can change your life. Everything else in the education industry: digital learning platforms, colleges, policies, assessments, examinations, rankings are then just tools built around this learning experience generated by a great professor.
Which brings us to our next question: Who is a great professor?
To fulfil the new responsibilities, a great professor no longer needs to have a PhD. Instead, they need to have just two qualities: love for what they do and the motivation to teach.
If they are curious about their field, they will push their own boundaries about knowledge and help students push theirs. If they are motivated to teach, they will automatically do more at each point to deliver a better learning experience.
How is Connect2Teach getting great professors to facilitate great learning experiences?
To complement the need for continuous education, the places of learning have evolved from just traditional universities. They now include an ever increasing number of MOOCs, corporate universities, events, private colleges and skill-based schools.
These institutions are looking for experts from across industries, academic disciplines and geographies to share their knowledge. Adjunct faculty, visiting professors, guest lecturers, speakers, coaches and mentors are part of the new vocabulary associated with teaching. These new teachers include professors, entrepreneurs, artists, engineers, consultants, advisors… you name it!
At Connect2Teach, we are simply reaching out to motivated experts and connecting them with opportunities at the old and new places of learning. Connect2Teach is not a job portal. It is a community of people who want to share what they love doing and of institutions who care about delivering the best learning experience.
For experts, teaching is a great way to not only contribute to the future but also to build reputation, learn continuously and meet prospective customers/peers/vendors. And in the new economy, you can achieve the benefits from teaching whether you choose to do it part-time or pursue it full-time.
By seeing education from a wider lens, we are ensuring that the learner has access to the best experts. And in doing so, we are creating greater economic incentive for the the new professor: achieving both, increased monetary compensation and restored prestige.
Our goal is simple: to ensure that teaching becomes the #1 career choice globally.