As a prospective student, there is an aspect of choosing a college that you might not have considered. There are so many things to think about before making your decision that this one might get missed. The opportunity to learn from “practicing faculty” brings a lot of value to education. These are professors who continue to work in the field in which they teach. Here are three reasons why it is valuable to have professors who currently work in the field.
1. They are up-to-date on the latest technology
It is difficult to teach students to be relevant in the workplace without understanding current programs and software. Did you know psychologists can now treat fear of flying using virtual reality? Did you know that new smart bed technology can help nurses track vitals and monitor patient safety and comfort? Those may be extreme, but the fact is that nobody wants to enter the workforce already behind on the programs that are necessary for their success. This is especially true when it comes to degrees in science, technology, engineering, and the medical field.
2. They have current relationships with people in the industry
Faculty who have existing relationships with those in the industry can provide connections that lead to internships or job opportunities. The networks they developed throughout their career history are valuable, but even more valuable are the relationships they have with industry professionals today. Practicing faculty are usually highly successful in their field, rather than a background in teaching or research. Their success typically comes from the relationships they have maintained, and new ones they are building.
3. They are aware of present opportunities and obstacles
Practicing faculty are aware of developments or challenges in the career field. There may be trends, whether good or bad, that someone who is only teaching might not be aware of. Professors who continue to work in their field are usually lifelong learners and keep up with opportunities and obstacles within their discipline. By continuing to work outside the university, they can give a practical perspective along with theoretical ideas. Students get the best of both worlds when faculty can provide knowledge based on experience in addition to knowledge based on textbooks.
Attending a university where the professors have a long history of teaching, have published numerous books and articles, or conduct extensive research can be attractive. If you can, find a university that combines those things with the added value of practicing faculty. You won’t regret taking this factor into consideration!