Updated Monday, April 25, 2016
It’s been nearly two decades since I left academia, although I’ve come back a few times over the past five years. For instance, I’ve done some book-related guest lectures and webinars at Carnegie Mellon University (Silicon Valley campus), Santa Clara, and Seton Hall—among others. It’s fair to say, though, that I’ve spent most of the last 20 years of my professional life ensconced in the business world, not the academic one.
That’s not to say, though, that I haven’t disseminated more than my fair share of knowledge over the years in corporate settings. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve coached plenty of professionals on an individual basis. Beyond individual interactions, I’ve taught scores of formal classes and held seminars. In my conference talks and webinars, I’ve addressed tens of thousands of people.
And then there’s the body of work that I have amassed in the last six years. I like to think that it’s more than respectable. I’ve penned seven proper books and thousands of blog posts, articles, and white papers. (Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.) To be sure, as an autodidact, it has been quite the ride and I have learned a great deal about many topics.
Teaching would be a very rewarding experience.
Still, I’ve been thinking for a while now about shaking things up professionally. To this end, I have started searching for a full-time, multi-year position as a visiting professor or non-tenure-track faculty member at a prestigious university.
Why do this?
In no particular order, here’s a list of my main motivations:
- My experience, research, and message and would benefit students right school and program. I can think of several types of programs whose students would find the message and lessons I can deliver valuable. Examples include MBA, information systems, data science, and/or analytics programs. Based upon some very encouraging exploratory discussions with a few professors and associate deans whose opinions I respect, I don’ think that I’m way off base here.
- Teaching for five years or more would be a very rewarding experience. I like teaching and the classroom environment. I always enjoyed my time in the classroom on both ends, and nothing has happened in the last two decades that makes me think that it would be any different this time.
- Aside from just the general idea of teaching, it would be fascinating to explore contemporary platforms, management, technology, Big Data, and other topics of personal interest in an academic setting. It’s no overstatement to say that we are living in extraordinary times—ones that are challenging many traditional management and technological orthodoxies. I can think of no better time for detailed case studies, projects, discussions, and in-classroom exercises.
- I know that I am a good teacher and public speaker. In grad school, I taught courses for three semesters as a teaching assistant. Upon graduation, I taught sexual harassment at CapitalOne and then moved on to software courses at Merck, Lawson Software, and as an independent consultant. As for public speaking, I would not be able to make a living it if I sucked at it.
- My books are already used in many colleges and universities. I don’t maintain a master list, but I know that my work is already taught in academia. I’ve had enough conversations with people and received enough Google Alerts to know that all of my books have been part of many course syllabi.
What are the benefits for colleges and universities?
I can think of several. First, because I have written seven books, I would qualify as a scholarly practitioner. In nutshell, this means that my background would help with a school’s AACSB accreditation. Regular adjuncts may work for peanuts or for free, but their backgrounds actually hurt colleges and universities in this regard (PDF).
Second, and permit me to be a tad immodest here, I bring real-world experience to the classroom that many pure and career academics simply do not. In short, I bring a different presence that traditional PhD’s do. A highly respected and tenured professor at a top-50 US university told me as much during one of my interviews this past February.
Ideal Scenario and Other Logistics
I’m trying to be intelligent about my search. I want to find the right position, not just any one. With regard to location, I am pretty flexible. Ideally, I would begin in 2016. I would teach several classes per semester on my areas of interest and expertise. It would be great to either develop a new course or, at a minimum, participate in the creation of the syllabus for an existing course. Finally, for a bunch of reasons, I am not looking for a role as an “normal” adjunct professor. That is, teaching one course per semester.
Potential Course Subjects
I have broken potential course subjects into the following two areas:
I believe that I am particularly well-suited to teach courses focused in the following areas:
- The On-Demand Economy
- business writing
- public speaking and presentation skills
- Big Data
- data visualization
- data management
- project management
- enterprise technologies (read: enterprise resource planning [ERP] and customer-relationship management [CRM]), cloud computing, open-source software, and SaaS
I have researched and written extensively about the following topics, but not nearly as much as the ones on the left:
- web design
- data mining
- business intelligence
- social networks
- consumer technologies
- small businesses
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