Let's Try Something New

As someone who has spent her entire career in academia, I have had the privilege of holding many different positions, including graduate student, adjunct instructor, research professor, assistant, associate, and full professor, and department director. I have also served on numerous committees touching multiple aspects of student and faculty life, and worked on various initiatives alongside highly skilled academic staff from my home institution, and with colleagues across disciplines and universities around the globe. I’ve been around the block, academically speaking, but never stop feeling like I have a lot to learn.

Over the past several years, I’ve become more attuned to several “pain points” that affect my job. First, the quantity and sources of information available to academics continue to proliferate, making the process of identifying the “best” resources for teaching and research more complicated and time-consuming. Second, the administrative burdens that we face, at least in my experience, have grown and crowded out valuable time that could be dedicated to teaching, research, administration, and most importantly, supporting students. And third, some of the work that I am most proud of was developed for the classroom, or for community groups and organizations as part of my service activities—this stuff rarely gets shared beyond my own professional network, if at all. On this last point, my lack of sharing has nothing to do with my willingness to share, and everything to do with the fact that there isn’t a “go-to” mechanism for sharing across the spectrum of academia.

In the summer of 2015, I found myself brainstorming about what could help address these pain points. What could help bring academics together, across disciplines and institutions, to share their most innovative and effective tools and resources? I wanted to develop something that was informed by the people doing the teaching, research, and administration, and providing the student support services on the ground in higher education. I spent time talking with hundreds of individuals representing every corner of academia. Through listening to my colleagues and peers, and asking questions about what is needed to improve the quality and efficiency of their work, as well as reflecting on my own experiences, I was inspired to create Prof2Prof.

Prof2Prof is "professor-centric" (I'm using the term "professor" in a more general sense here, as a commonly recognizable title in academia). It is a platform where academic professionals showcase their skills and expertise, as well as a place for sharing the full scope of our higher ed contributions. Imagine the possibilities if we came together under one virtual roof, and shared assignments, presentations, case studies, works of art, reports, in-class exercises, syllabi, webinars, research tools, academic policies, media interviews, videos, blogs, and more. This platform can help cut through the “noise” of information available on the web, because the resources on Prof2Prof are curated and created by our academic peers, informed by their expertise and training. As of this posting, Prof2Prof has been live for only a few days, and I’ve already identified innovative tools to use in my course this Fall. As more people join and post resources, I truly believe that we will be more efficient and effective in our jobs.

I look forward to hearing your ideas about how to continue improving Prof2Prof, and hope that you share my excitement in the possibilities it creates. Please join Prof2Prof.com and help spread the word in your academic networks.

Author: Kristen Slack, PhD

Founder, Prof2Prof

https://www.prof2prof.com/users/kristen-s-slack

Photo: @ deniscristo

Globe made up of tiny people clustered to look like continents and bodies of water.