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Thread: Becoming a professor

  1. #1
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    Becoming a professor

    Can anyone tell me what the best route is to becoming a planning professor? rsmith23's post on skipping the master's degree to go straight to a Ph.D. intrigued me, as I've also harbored thoughts of becoming a planning prof.

    Can one go through school and directly into academia? Can a professor be worthwhile if he/she doesn't have much in the way real world experience outside of their schooling (assuming they make an honest effort to keep in touch with professional planning)?

    I tend to be a little impatient, so the quicker I can make it to academia the better. However, I do want to be sure I approach this the right way. Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
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    I'm in sort of a similar situation. I just met with a professor at UC Berkeley yesterday and discussed these ideas. The basic idea seemed to be that most planning professors are educating people who want to become planners, so the focus is really on training professionals. Because of this, you often have to have experience as sort of a "street cred" in order to get a decent job as a professor. I'm sure this doesn't apply to everyone or every school, but I think it makes a lot of sense. Other fields (sociology, political science, etc.) are more academic and less professional, so work experience isn't necessary. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    honestly, can you really expect to be a prof teaching planning when you have never planned a thing in your life? As a student of a prof in that situation I would honesetly give no credit to that prof at all.

    From my recent and continued work in a municipal planning department, there is a clear distinction between what I learned during my undergrad in Urban Geography and what is practiced at work.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    [QUOTE=goldeneye;405073]honestly, can you really expect to be a prof teaching planning when you have never planned a thing in your life?

    I agree entirely. I have learned far more from adjuctant professors who work full time as planners, landscape architects, and architects and teach an occasional course or two.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by goldeneye View post
    honestly, can you really expect to be a prof teaching planning when you have never planned a thing in your life? As a student of a prof in that situation I would honesetly give no credit to that prof at all.

    .
    You'd probably fit right in at Penn.

    Seriously, planning, civil engineering, LA...all subjects that are best taught by adjuncts, IMO.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    As they others have said, get real-life experience. Keep in mind that university jobs are hard-to-come by. I know a fellow who has his Ph.D and has been trying for years to get a job teaching at a university. Granted, he only will take a teaching job in Montana or a neighboring state because of his family.

    Get real-life experience and then at least you have something to fall back on if the university job is hard to get.

    My program gave me the educational framework I needed, but as others said, it was the adjunct teachers who gave me the best instruction.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    If you get some decent experience in either the private or public sector and you begin to teach, I will give you credit because for one, you are trying to teach a new generation of planners the practical as well as the ideological side.

    I've always wanted to get my Ph.D after my proposed masters (fall08 [crossing my fingers]) in ian school simply to further my research past my masters. While I always thought to myself that I did not want to teach simply because I found it boring due to a lack of getting actual work done, I do find theory creation quite appealing. Then again, why not be an adjunct prof, best of both worlds in a sense.

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