Take Professors Not Classes

Last week Greg Mathison invited me to sit in on his Change Management class in the Professional Masters in Management Program downtown at the Executive Development Center on Pine Street. They were doing a presentation on Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring’s book “The Innovative University.” Greg knew the topic would be of interest to me and I wanted to engage students in a dialogue about the future of higher education in the face of so many potentially disruptive forces.

At one point in the students’ presentation, they had a line on a slide that read:

Take Professors not Courses

Being skeptical of the many versions of “the sky is falling in higher education”, I thought well at least the authors got that right.

Taking courses is about filling out plans of study. That is about graduating. Taking professors is about gaining insight and perspective. That is at the core of higher education.

Every professor knows exactly what I mean. They were someone’s student and can tell you who. I am a James Stern/Paula Voos/Craig Olson student. This matters in how I view the world, seek solutions, and define success.

You want to take professors who will make you their student. Doing that will help make you unique.


One thought on “Take Professors Not Classes

  1. Thanks for sharing. The class sounds like it was very interesting. I wish that i could have sat in as well.

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on where the world of higher education is going. What do you think it will be like in 5-10 years from now.

    The internet provides access to instant information, people and resources at your finger tips. Memorizing facts and knowing how to do everything yourself is not as valuable as it was in the past. Now team work, being resourceful, innovation and having experience is key. All the good coders and internet marketers I know learned their craft on their own online or through trial and error, not in school. Often times industries move so fast that professors who have been teaching their same course for years are not giving their students up to date skills and the ability to provide significant value to employers that they need. In many cases I think this is because professors don’t know what they don’t know and are set in their ways. With the professional world changing so fast they too need to reinvent their curriculm constantly and incorporate the latest tools, trends, challenges and skill sets.

    I think it would be beneficial for more current and credible professionals to be involved collaboratively with educators and students to help structure the curriculum taught and how it is taught. I know internships give real world experience and that is great, but in my eyes having professionals more involved in what occurs inside the classroom as part of the curricilum can be very valuable as well.

    What about analyzing real time trends / problems occurring in the field by utilizing social media monitoring tools then arranging a group project to give hands on experience addresing that problem as part of the curriculum of a given course?

    Professors and the professional community would have to do more work throughout the education process, but students would learn not only the right things, but know how to apply them in the real world, which would differentiate them and better prepare them for the competitive global workplace.


    Maybe this would be an interesting follow up post.


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