After her personal struggles with working in academia, Dr Karen Kelsky gave up her tenured position to start her own consultancy for aspiring academic professionals due to the frustration that she experienced as a tenured professor. This is spiralled into her blog and book with the similar title, “ The Professor Is In”.
Dr Kelsky argues that many PhD students are caught in the myth of the “Work of the Mind” trap at the expense of the personal and financial well-being. This has been a contributing factor to the student-debt crisis in America since most personal finance gurus advise that college debt is good debt. However, without proper career and financial planning especially for arts and humanities students, they rake up a huge load of debt and spend their lives as adjunct professors. This is evidenced by the informal PhD. debt survey that Dr Kelsky ran on her blog where PhD students have given testimonials of their debt burdens with some as high as $100,000.
She cites the need for professionalisation of academia in order for aspiring scholars will be able to sustain themselves and deliver in the classroom. Dr Kelsky arguments on taking care of one’s self as an academic are valid because they are reflected in the many teachers and lecturers strikes that occur. This is a contributing factor to the quality of graduates that higher learning institutions. Most higher learning institutions focus on branding and marketing students in the more professional courses such as Business and tend to overlook students more keen on the academic career path especially in the humanities and social sciences.
The author takes a detailed step by step approach in addressing the issues that a PhD student should consider in career mapping and issues to be considered including diversity and personal branding yourself as an academic. Kelsky includes templates for various situations including those questions that are not supposed to be asked in an interview.
The Professor Is In ‘s conversational, witty and yet blunt tone makes it a quick read. Since I am yet to pursue my PhD studies I found the first few sections of the book more interesting and read it faster than the middle section of the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering postgraduate studies as well as early -career lecturers. Since I received an e-book for review, I will definitely purchase a hard copy for future reference.
Have you read The Professor Is In? Please let me know your thoughts on the book and/or how your experience in graduate has helped you prepare for a career in academia.
Disclosure: This book was provided for a free and honest review by Blogging for Books.