Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Good and Bad of Visiting Professors

While at GW, I've had full-time professors, adjunct professors, and visiting professors. I remember when I was applying here a few years ago that one of the many things that the admissions people talked about was how, because the school is located in the center of a fantastic city, we have the added benefit of getting visiting faculty from some of the best companies in all different fields.

But is that really the best thing? BusinessWeek, in their profile of the School of Business (located here) has a break down of faculty. Their report had this to say:
Full-time faculty : 67
Adjuncts and visiting faculty: 53
Permanent/tenured professors: 37

Almost half of the the professors in the School of Business, one of our most prestigious programs, are not full time faculty!

Visiting professors provide students with some of the best insight into their field of business possible. They are able to talk about subjects in detail that people not in their professions would be unable to speak of. And, they are also able to open doors to internships and jobs for the truly committed students.

That being said, our university needs to be more open to hiring full time staff. Part-time staff are, on the whole, forced to teach the same number of classes and provide the same resources to students as full-time faculty. This school is unfairly treating extremely well-qualified faculty, by preventing them from achieving full-time faculty status. And we are driving these professors away.

There is a reason why many visiting professors don't stay on as faculty members for more than a few terms. We are losing these valuable resources because are not giving them the credit (or money) they deserve.

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