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BEING A PROFESSOR - DR. PAMELA CHRABIEH
Being a Professor

Dr. Pamela Chrabieh

Most people I encounter view higher education as an ivory tower and university professors as “freaking” monsters/mutants hiding from other fellow citizens behind their undecipherable books and wasteful theories, or consider that teaching is simply a job. I admit there is a grain of truth in the previous depictions, but the reality of being a professor, at least as I see it, is far more complex.
 
Being a professor is not just an occupation, a duty or a paycheck, nor just a social role externally defined and evaluated by perceptions and expectations. It is a calling, a vocation that requires unique philosophies and approaches to life.
 
Being a professor is an identity, a part of the sum total of who I am; a part of my values, attitude, sensibility, dreams and limitations; a part of my history and experiences.
 
Being a professor means being a teacher, a scholar, a grant seeker, a public speaker and an administrator, but also, an eternal learner, a shoulder to cry on, an avatar of Indiana Jones and James Bond, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
 
Being a professor means recognizing and appreciating human diversity and commonality, as well as working through controversy with civility.
 
Being a professor means inspiring students to believe in themselves and their abilities, a key to opening and fostering wonderful minds and souls.
 
Being a professor means having an uncanny belief in the future and the possibility of betterment. It means having the will to face challenges and the faith in progressive change.
 
Being a professor means believing that civic engagement is not the sprinkles on the cake, but the bottom layer from which all other efforts emanate.
 
Being a professor means being engaged in the community and weaving an ethos of community engagement into the fabric of the academic institution.
 
Being a professor means contributing to a holistic knowledge enterprise, including the explicit knowledge creation, transfer and application, the tacit knowledge (the know-how, the experience and skills we all use), the relational knowledge (how we should be with one another while responding to the increased calls to address society’s most challenging needs), as well as creativity, wonderment, self-esteem, belonging, global citizenship and social activism.
 
Being a professor is definitely hard work. It does not always run perfectly and it is not about pleasing everyone all the time, but with reflection and the support of friends, colleagues and family, it is about accepting the responsibility of making a difference.
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