How to Size up College Faculty
When it comes time to choose the right college for you, make sure you check out the university’s teaching staff. Look for tenured professors who have been at their job for several years. You could ask the university for the bios of the professors teaching the courses you’re planning to take, or better yet, review their CVs posted on the university’s website. Pay attention to the career experience listed on their biography.
You should also check how many research papers the professors have published. While research doesn’t necessarily mean hands-on experience in the working world, it does indicate that the professor has deep knowledge of a field – knowledge that can help you when you’re ready to start a career in that field. Peer-reviewed articles are judged by the professor’s academic colleagues, who determine whether the research is valid. This research tells you whether a professor is considered an expert in his field by his peers.
It’s a myth that online professors are not as adept or accomplished as their counterparts who are teaching in classrooms. In fact, they may be more experienced because they have had professional careers outside academia for many years, and they bring those experiences into the online classroom discussions.
For example, at Ashford University, a majority of faculty members hold at least one doctorate degree specializing in the field they teach, and they have professional experience outside the classroom. The University posts all faculty biographies on the school’s website, showcasing the diverse and educated faculty. The list of highly accomplished professors is long. Here are just a few.
From the Forbes™ School of Business:
Dr. Gertrude Hewapathirana – Dr. Hewapathirana has a doctoral degree in Work Human Resource Development, master’s degrees in Comparative International Development Education and Scientific and Technical Communication, both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Economics, and two postgraduate diplomas in Economics and Urban Development. Not only did she earn these degrees from universities all around the world, but much of her business and international relations experience happened in her home country of Sri Lanka. During that time, Dr. Hewapathirana was a researcher for the United Nations and served as director for several different business boards and foundations.
From the College of Education:
Dr. Iris Lafferty – With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate in Education, Dr. Lafferty loves the pursuit of knowledge. But she doesn’t just glean this knowledge from the classroom setting. She’s worked as a researcher with the US Navy, a consultant to government agencies like the Education Development Center, and has lectured at many colleges and universities to balance out her background.
From the College of Liberal Arts:
Dr. Alan Barton – Dr. Barton has a doctoral degree in Development Sociology, a master’s in Forest Planning and Land Use Planning, and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and Spanish. But his work experience in these careers really shines, as Dr. Barton has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and Paraguay and has worked with the National Park Service as a ranger in several national parks. Plus, his research work on sustainable development in Central America, the Caribbean, the Mississippi Delta, and the Pacific Northwest gives him experience students will find invaluable.
The online degree programs offered at Ashford University include associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in many different fields of study. Students take five-week undergraduate courses, one at a time, while balancing a busy schedule with family and work.
If you're interested in starting a degree program or going back to college, you should carefully research all the programs available in the degree of your choice. Be sure to pay attention to the services offered to help students find careers upon degree completion, the financial assistance available and, most importantly, the professors who will be teaching.
Written by Ashford University staff