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Corporate to Academia

By RB_ITProfessional ·
Has anyone successfully made the transition from the corporate world to academia (college level)? Can you describe your experience? Can you please provide your thoughts on the following?
? Are you full-time or a part-time adjunct faculty member? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of either?
? How did you go about making the transition?
? What was your motivation for making this career move?
? What advice would you give someone considering this career move? How would a newbie go about getting the experience necessary to land their first teaching position?
? What academic credentials are necessary? (PhD or Masters)
? Any other thoughts that you care to share.


Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

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Some answers

by jmgarvin In reply to Corporate to Academia

A) I'm full time faculty. I can say my kung fu is FAR weaker now because I'm not on the front lines, but I do get to play with the stuff I want to play with, rather than fight fires all day long.

B) The transition isn't too bad, but be ready for that pay cut and brace yourself for a far slower pace of life. The only thing that moves slower than buracracy in academia is the Catholic Church. ;-)

C) My motivation was stress. I needed time to finish my PhD and I really couldn't take the stupidity of CFOs anymore.

D) Make sure you WANT to teach. If you hate teaching or you hate dealing with students on a constant basis, don't teach.

You also need to make sure you CAN teach. I know it sounds silly, but you might want to take a teaching course or two. It will help level out the learning curve and really help your students.

Getting the experience...hmmmm...Well you could be an adjunct at a school like University of Phoenix, ITT, or Devry. Your local community college might also have positons open.

E) I'd suggest a Masters with some certs. You'll be able to teach at the associate level (and possibly higher). A PhD doesn't hurt if you want to teach (unless it is K-12, then it does very little).

F) Get ready for a culture shock. Academia is VERY different than the corporate world and life moves a little slower. Also be prepared to be out there on your own for almost everything. The support system isn't really there...you more or less get thrown to the wolves.

You might also want to crank out a few publications so that you "look" more academic.

Good luck!

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Good feedback

by RB_ITProfessional In reply to Some answers

Thanks for this reply, it was insightful. I too am facing the very strong motivator of stress as my reason for moving into academia. Very much tired of the fast pace of corporate america and welcome a slower pace. I will be finished with my Master's Degree in a few months, and hope to start on a PhD shortly thereafter. What has been your experience working on a PhD while working full-time?

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Working on a PhD and a full time job

by jmgarvin In reply to Good feedback

It's rough going. It means a LOT of your time, esp on the weekends, is spent doing work. However, the nice part is that once you start you diseration, you are home free ;-)

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Somewhat

by jdmercha In reply to Corporate to Academia

I've gone from corporate to academia, but as staff not faculty. The answers to your questions depend on the instituition you work at and what you want to do.

I work at a research university. Here most of the teaching is done by adjuncts and part-time instructors. Full time faculty are expected to do research and teach one or two classes.

Not being faculty I didn't have much of a transition to make. But if you already have teaching experience the transition is not too difficult. If you don't have any teaching experience then it is tough to even get a faculty appointment.

I was motivagted by money. True acadamia is usually lower paying but I moved up a step. And I get paid more that most of the faculty. However, most of our faculty make more money doing research than they do in salary.

The easiest way to make the transition is to get a GA position first. Get some experience working with faculty in the classroom.

If you want to teach full time at a tech school or community college than a masters is fine. If you want to teach at a 4-year college then you will want a PhD.

If you can afford the pay cut while you finish a PhD, look for a paid GA position. You will have your tuition paid as well as collecting a small salary.

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