The Professor Is In: Reality Check for Anyone Interested in a Career in Academia

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  professionalization 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 are 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 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



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