So you want to be a professor?

And ad for this book came across my inbox today. It’s for a new book by two professors emeritus from the University of Toronto, sharing their wisdom with their target audience of graduate students and junior faculty members.  The most egregious thing about this presumptuous book (as if two old guys’ experience can tell the young all they need to know to navigate the world of academia) is the photo on the cover. So you want to be a professor? For starters, it helps a whole heck of a lot if you’re a nerdy-looking white guy (with a bow tie, tweed optional).  Can we please stop perpetuating this ridiculous stereotype of who can be a professor?

9 thoughts on “So you want to be a professor?

  1. It probably helps even more if one is an Engineering Nerd with ‘space mafia’ connections.

  2. I was interested enough to look for a blurb on this book, and I’m not sure it purports ” tell the young all they need to know to navigate the world of academia.” It seems to have a lot to say about what hoops one has to jump through, and what senior people expect of junior people, which might be very interesting. It also looks at various options; I am not sure I even knew there were any options…

    One thing the blurb said struck me as quite useful: it looks at how to plan one’s academic life after one gets tenure. I think mentors may help one with this, but I hadn’t much idea this is something one should/could do.

    I do remember many years ago a very new assistant professor was given a piece by a senior prof in business which was titled something like “How to become a world class scholar by the time you have tenure.” She was horrified; we’re about truth and integrity, aren’t we? Not selling ourselves. I do wish I had kept a copy.

  3. There may be some worthwhile topics discussed in the book, but that doesn’t detract from the impact of the cover and the cover does not bode well for how well the topics discussed in the book will address the situations women face, which are quite different in many cases from those men face. For example, the blurb doesn’t suggest that there is a section on implicit bias and the expectation that women will do more service (and certainly more service of a certain invisible kind) than their male counterparts — and these are arguably two of the most insidious challenges facing women in academia (now that we’ve been ‘allowed in’).

  4. I agree with Sophia that the person on the cover looks pretty androgynous. In fact, at first I thought it was a woman…
    But desperately white, yes…

  5. I would agree with Sophia,
    This is somewhat interestingly androgynous.

    I was most scandalized by the very first chapter: “Tenure (Finally!)”

    Way to totally ignore the increasing numbers of low-paid, non-tenure-track adjuncts and the entire process of obtaining tenure. Weird. I mean, at that point it doesn’t seem like you’d be reading a book about wanting to be a professor…since you’d already be one.

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