A professor’s self-examination

a professor's self-examinationNow that the academic year is over and I am rested and recovered, it is time to do some self-assessment of how it went and to outline a plan for the coming year. This is a suggestion of questions for a self-examination as a professor.

First I have to be happy because I have the good fortune to be a university professor: it is a very varied, challenging and rewarding activity that allows me to make life better for others, to improve a little the world, and to grow as a person.

With respect to what is expected of me as a professor:

  • Did I prepare conveniently the classes?
  • Did I come to class on time? Did I go motivated or by mere compliance?
  • Did I correct/present the academic grades and other administrative documents on time?
  • Did I take the time to research and publish in academic journals? Did I seek to innovate in my research and contribute to the literature with my papers?

With respect to the others, students and colleagues:

  • Did I attend my students properly and with interest in their education?
  • How did I treat my peers? Did I willingly collaborate with them or did I just do the bare minimum required to meet my objectives?
  • Did I help other professors, for example from countries with fewer resources, to improve and publish, by providing my advice?
  • When a journal editor asked me to be a peer-reviewer, what did I do? Did I only accept if the journal had high impact factor?

With regard to myself and my goals:

  • Was I concerned about my training and reading to be a better teacher and researcher?
  • What was it that inspired my academic life: the others, improving the world, or else were the prestige and money?
  • Did I act as a professor normally in consciousness or was I driven by other motives such as obtaining publications, fear of losing the job, or what peers/students could say?

I understand that (academic) life is tough and stressful, and seeing how the things go in the world I’ll settle for the next course to fulfill my duties as a professor with students, to collaborate with my peers and to devote some time to study and research. And you?

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Teaching or research: what goes first?

Teaching or research - what goes firstBeing a university professor is very complex and demanding.

Professors generally are required to perform the following activities:

  1. Teach, conducting lectures and seminars; and mentor students.
  2. Perform advanced research in their fields, publishing their work in scientific journals.
  3. Provide consulting and advising functions, being this way closed to the reality.
  4. Conduct administrative or managerial functions at university or departments.

Is it possible, as some claim, to teach without research? At the end, being a good communicator has nothing to do with research.

What about research? Being a superb specialist does not mean that you are a good teacher, one can end up losing the wider scope of knowledge needed to teach.

But we are not just teachers (being good educators) nor pure researchers (improving the world), we are professors, we should master both of them; it makes sense and is required by all university and educational bodies all over the world, setting even the exact time for research and teaching.

Both are complementary and interwoven.

  • Teaching based on researching support the learning process and brings quality to teaching:  Research enriches teaching.
  • Research is fundamental in developing new knowledge and bridging the gap between academia and reality: Teaching develops research.

And going back to practical reality, the experience of successful professors is that both teaching and research spur our academic careers: without research one cannot be much effective in teaching, and vice-versa.

I am happy to be a university professor

teaching

This week I would like to share with you the personal opinion of professors about our work, our profession, how we see ourselves.

I summarize the responses, collected in the social networks.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

  • Charlotte: We learn as we teach. Teaching requires a constant improvement of the mind. That keeps you young.
  • Deepak: It is the joy of knowing and the satisfaction of giving it back in a refined manner what you know and have learnt.
  • Kirsten: The challenge of acquiring new knowledge and passing it on.

CHALLENGE

  • Keshav: I love teaching because it gives me an opportunity to interact with young minds.
  • Denis: It’s knowing that we have challenged not only our wee students but colleague as well! I received this email recently: Sometime when I finish with you I need a brain massage (smile) enjoying every minute”
  • Ammini: It puts you in the right environment, intellectual colleagues, academic and cultural activities and a whole bunch of young enthusiastic students.
  • Gregory: I feel great being a professor because of the “high” I get when I leave the classroom every day!

PROUD

  • Wane: Being a Professor is just great and natural, it is a coveted title and I am proud of it because I worked and earned it.
  • Ashu: Can anyone get such love (from students) and respect in any other profession…?
  • Ralph: Teaching profession is the noblest of all professions in this world of human affairs.

REWARD

  • Jorge: I don’t know if I want to do anything else but teaching at this point in my career.
  • Charlotte: Sometimes there is a phone call or a letter from someone who remembers a phrase, an answer, an encouragement. That’s a big reward.
  • Ravi: When I feel sick I raise up muster some strength and take a class. After one hour I get renewed energy. I am happy to be a teacher.
  • Mohandas: I chose teaching as a profession way back in 1968,… and I am still in love with my profession, teaching.
  • Mike: An hour in a class room with enthusiastic students gives you enough stimuli to face the problems.
  • Shubash: Today I have completed over 40 years in this job and still admire of my decision. When students look into my eyes and listen to you, I felt satisfied and even great
  • Janet: It’s a hard job, but I love it like no other job I’ve ever had.

CONTRIBUTION TO SOCIETY / CHANGE AGENT

  • Yasmin: I feel that I have made a small but value added contribution to the society.
  • Howard: My job is …  to help others to see and work politically to achieve some measure of social justice and transformation.
  • Rup: My passion is working with my students in a lab setting. Many of my former students are working in the industry and that’s what makes my job worthwhile.
  • Sushil: Another thing that makes me feel very good is that I keep running into my students and it is so good to know that most of them have found very good jobs after two years at a community college.
  • Kate: My satisfaction came in large part as a “change agent” in their lives.
  • Dugdale: I enjoy most is seeing my students faces light up when “they get it” and watching them become a professional in their field of Physical Therapy.
  • Richard: I love the impact that I’ve had on my “kids”.

HELP OTHERS

  • Penny: I feel that I am molding new nurses and getting them started appropriately. I just love to teach. When I stop loving what I do, then I will stop.
  • Barry: Each year and each class is a new beginning. I love what I do in the classroom. Well-rounded students are the ultimate outcomes of today’s professors.
  • Mohammad: As a student I used to read to pass my own exams but now I am reading to ensure my students pass with merit!
  • Chris: It’s great to feel that you’re really helping people and having an impact on lives.
  • Jane: I always feel great every time am teaching my students, we are part of their future because we are there to support and help them.

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Profs are the inspiration for this blog and for Gaudeamus, built to help them to keep changing the world.

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POLL: The future of research quality assessment

The main drivers of change regarding the assessment of research quality and its dissemination are the current Web 3.0. technology environment in education, open access journals/repositories and the consolidation of citation metrics tools.

Indexed journals have been adding high value to all academic stakeholders: professor, researchers, publishers, editors, professionals, universities, faculties and libraries; but has arrived the time for journals to change?

journal burning

Shape the future of publishing voting in the poll. Share with us your vision.

Gaudeamus: 1.000 profs and editors building a better academic world

Let me use the poem Desiderata (Max Ehrmann, 1920) with other words: The world is full of trickery. But let this not blind us to what virtue there is; many profs strive for high ideals, and everywhere academic life is full of heroism.

Being a prof is great, doing what we know to do and what we love: researching, writing, teaching and spreading our knowledge to others. But we may sometimes also feel like pirates of the Caribbean, snake oil salesmen, proletarians, revolutionaries, parents and slaves. It is romantic, isn`t it?

Gaudeamus – the academic network for publishing in journals was born with this spirit, dedicated to build a better academic world helping scholars to get their research published in journals and enabling editors to find content.

This week we will reach 1.000 users: Journals and professors, researchers and editors, democratizing through Internet our common publishing knowledge.

Every day, many academics successfully find love with journal editors on Gaudeamus, so why not get started now?

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Benchmark with your peers: Q&A with a prolific PhD Fellow

Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri
Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia. Previously, He has been working as lecturer and independent researcher. At the present, Arsalan is working as research team member in a project granted by Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris. His research interests are marketing practices and data analysis. Arsalan is a prolific fellow: has produced 39 publications (3 monographs+36 research papers) in 8 different countries in two and a half years
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Gaudeamus. How do you manage your time to do research?

Arsalan Mujahid Ghouri. Maybe its difficult to find time for research for others, but in this case, gym, jogging, sleeping, research… working could be included in my hobby list. I devote 6-8 hours daily to some kind of research.

G. What drives you to publishing in journals?

AMG. Initially, when I start thinking about writing a research paper, I felt it impossible. But in first attempt, my paper took 4 revisions and accepted in around 2 years in Saudia Arabia. That was my starting and turning point, and after I got 4-5 publications, people recognize me as researcher and writer, which drives me to do more research work and help others.

G. How do you choose the journals where to publish?

AMG. My first preference is quality of  published articles, indexing and the country of journal.

G. How many articles do you publish a year? Do you have any pressure to publish?

AMG. As being PhD candidate, the requirement is to publish 2 articles in PhD tenure. I’ve 39 publications (3 monographs + 36 research articles) in 8 different countries in 3 years.

G. You are editor of some open access journals, what is your motivation to do it as an academic?

AMG. Basically this is the aspect of my life which I never think about. This is a privilege for me as an associate editor of four different journals and reviewer for two journals. Maintaining a journal is an achievement for an academician, working as a driver for me to keep on this work.

G. What advice would you give to novel researchers regarding publishing in journals?

AMG. Produce a paper or thesis is a learning and slow process. According to me, a person need five different skills to write a paper/ thesis.

  • 1st, Try to be fine to prove your point for conducting research,
  • 2nd Develop techniques in searching and extracting the related material from the Internet/ libraries and research articles,
  • 3rd Become an expert in statistics and applications,
  • 4th Make an effort to interprete the scenario you face after getting results,
  • 5th Try to become an advisor which can dig out key advices/ findings from the interpretations.

I am still a learner, and I’ll suggest that don’t be in hurry to get expertise in five above discussed skills, be patient, take your time, practice will gonna make you perfect…

Focus and Scope

blog 1This blog is focused on helping academics, my peers, to get their research published in journals. How? By doing what I know to do and what I love: researching, writing and spreading my knowledge to others, that is why I am a university professor.

It is not that I am a champion of publication in journals, that everything that I send it is published at the first or that I break publication records, it is not the case even remotely. But I have been able to identify several small things of which I believe are key in this topic, and which I would like to share:

  • To give it the importance that it deserves, neither much nor little.
  • To incorporate the routine and the obligation to publish into our complicated agendas.
  • To understand the network of participants in this business: editors, journal managers and owners, publishing companies or reviewers, among others.
  • To identify the journals in which to publish, which index category, quartile or relevance, country or specialty, and how often to do it.
  • To build useful relationships with publishers.
  • To develop a method for producing attractive articles for editors and readers.
  • And many other things.

This blog therefore is not aimed at successful lecturers, with great local or international recognition, who think they do not need to publish in journals, but rather it is aimed at professors like me, hungry, wanting to build a consistent int’l curriculum and experience, who desperately look for approaching the publishing process in a smart and agile way.

Well, almost nothing!

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