Non-traditional route to full-time professorship

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Feb 3, 2020.

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  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Use this thread to highlight those who took the nontraditional route (distance/online) to earning their doctorates and achieving full-time employment as a college professor.

    Chowan University

    Old Dominion University

    Shorter University

    University of Pittsburgh - Bradford

    Saint Leo University

    Holy Family University

    This is just a small fraction. Feel free to add more to this list.
    Vonnegut likes this.
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    What a wonderful post!

    I think most of us have acknowledged there are exceptions. It would be interesting to hear their stories about their journeys and how/when/where their doctoral degrees fit in.

    "Just because it can be done doesn't make it a good idea." -- Chris Rock
  3. sideman

    sideman Well Known Member

    No one to add to your list, but I did have a gentleman that worked for me back in the nineties that had a PhD from Nova Southeastern. Unfortunately, he has since passed on, but for the few fortunate years that I had him he was a top notch performer. Occasionally he would go off on a tangent, but I suppose all high level thinkers do that from time to time.
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  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I think NSU--which appeared in a couple of the cases cited--is a bit different. Nova was always a pioneer in DL. They offered degree programs online before the World Wide Web even existed. But it is a school with a traditional brick-and-mortar campus and, thus, its degrees may be perceived differently. Also, some of those faculty members may have earned their doctorate traditionally from NSU. IMHO, the way one earns the degree is a bigger issue than the type of school. DL programs are not well-suited for the apprenticeship-like approach to entering academia. And I've always held that one can be the exception to that rule if one has a relationship to the school and they want to hire you irrespective of the nature of your doctorate.
  5. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    "Just because Boomers are stuck in their old ways doesn't mean Millennials and Gen Zs have to follow them."
  6. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Again, none of those faculty members earned their degrees traditionally. Apart from your for-profit schools, most other schools offering doctorates are backed by a traditional brick and mortar campus. Example: Liberty, Grand Canyon, ASU, Saint Leo, and the list goes on. I have seen so many faculty openings, especially in criminal justice, that either require or prefer professional experience. Yes, these positions also require doctorates. These tend to be master's comprehensive universities and doctoral professional universities (formerly R3). I'm pretty sure those who follow the traditional route to academia wouldn't qualify because they tend not to have any professional experience in the field.
  7. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    This is a good thread, but things have changed a lot in recent years. DL has evolved to the point where many traditional universities are offering distance degrees, and whether someone earned a degree in-person or via distance study isn't something you can tell by a cursory glance at the schools they graduated from. This is also now true at the doctoral level. For example, both the University of Arizona and the Medical University of South Carolina (both highly respected institutions) offer distance PhDs in nursing. By focusing only on those schools that are traditionally associated with DL (Phoenix, Capella, Walden, etc.), it's possible that you are excluding many others who took the non-traditional road to becoming professors.
    SteveFoerster and chrisjm18 like this.
  8. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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  10. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Chris, whatever the generation is named that follows your generation, they will come up with the same bullshit against your generation. And yet another generation will eventually come up with the same bullshit against their generation. It's called the life cycle.

    With my generation, the catch-phrase was, "Never trust anyone over 30." And eventually, we all turned 30. And 40. And so on. So when today's millennials whine about the boomers, we who are boomers can simply laugh our asses off. Just as our parents’ generations did at us when we whined about people over 30.

    Now, as for this thread, it may be fun, but it’s also meaningless. It neglects to consider a few variables: How many of the faculty members you have listed were hired based on their master’s degrees? How many of them were already in a teaching position at their institutions when they received their doctorates? How long had they already been teaching there, and on what basis (full-time, part-time, etc.)? Without that kind of information, any conclusion you reach based on a non-traditionally earned doctorate is pure presupposition.

    Eventually, even millennials and Z’s will gain wisdom, just as Boomers have before them. But y’all sure don’t have it now. As Sweeney Todd said to Anthony Hope (those of you who are culturally illiterate can look up the reference), “You are young . . . you will learn.”
  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Haha!! Life cycle? You're just trying to comfort yourself. I know the generation after me won't insult me because I won't poke my nose into their affairs or tell them what they can or can't do. I get along so well with my Gen Z students because I understand them. Those little digital natives will never disrespect me.

    Steve, why don't you do some research to discredit this thread? Put your Ph.D. to work. Test those variables if you wish. Most people maintain a LinkedIn page. Check the dates their degrees were conferred and the date they began employment at their respective HEIs. Heck, you might even find this information by reading their biography on some of the links I shared. It doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure that stuff out.

    The purpose of this thread is to give hope to those practitioners who aspire to teach at the college level. They are very unlikely to gain a TT position at a research university, but they certainly can get a full-time job at many teaching-focused schools.
  12. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    Because, other than rare cases where I look at the credentials claimed by degree mill operators, I have no interest in surfing LinkedIn. And because, unlike you perhaps, I have a life. :D

    Seriously, you've started going a little off the wall in terms of some of your interests, and I'm sure that is distracting you from your doctoral studies. I'm not throwing shade here - it's quite natural for every student to have a lull period at some point in their programs. So I figure you're about due for a lull at this point and are easily distracted by non-issues such as where full-time teachers got their doctorates, or perhaps taking time to teach in, say, Saudi Arabia. I'm not worried about you, since you seem to be able to remotivate yourself when necessary.

    As to your relationships with Gen Z, I'm delighted to hear how well you have it. It must be tough being perfect. I, on the other hand, am not perfect. I'm more like Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way.

    Remember, Chris, I am not competing with you. If you want to compete, find someone else who's willing to take the bait. If not, you'll be nothing more than a master baiter. :rolleyes:
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Of course, this has nothing to do with differences in generations, except as it relates to career arcs and when during them someone might make the leap.

    Your comment smacks of ageism, nothing more.
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but what you're doing is not research. You are finding anecdotes that fit your predetermined narrative. This doesn't mean it isn't interesting or valuable, but it isn't research.

    This topic--going from practice to academia using a PhD earned nontraditionally--has not been studied, to my knowledge. (I have looked for it in the past, but not in the last few years.) I've already acknowledged that it does happen, and that context is the key. You've cited some examples, but you really don't know their stories.

    I would suggest a mixed-methods approach. First, I'd try to determine whether or not this is a thing to study--instead of an unpredictable quirk--via a literature review to see what people are saying about it. Then I'd do a quantitative study to determine to what extent this phenomenon exists. Finally, I'd do a qualitative, inductive study (perhaps a grounded theory) to see if I could construct meaning of it all that might be useful to others.

    Instead of baiting Steve into doing something, why don't you do it instead?
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Perhaps. But I think you're overstating things a bit, using supposed generational differences to deflect criticism.

    I read an interesting study done by Bellevue University's Human Capital Lab that laid to waste most myths about generational differences in the workplace. Turns out younger workers are pretty much the same as older ones in terms of what they want from work, what motivates them, how stable they are in their careers, etc. In other words, the real differences in generations are minute compared to the similarities. Good stuff.
  16. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I don't have a life? Well, I work full-time as an educator, albeit less than 7 hours a day. I moderate two clubs & a homeroom, serve the DA's Office juvenile diversion program a few times a month, and I take a full-time course load at Liberty. That doesn't seem like much of a life. I bet your life as a retiree is so busy. I know you're prob busy sitting on your sofa scrolling through some app looking for hot young guys like me... haha! The only time I've ever been at a "lull period" in my Ph.D. program was during my first course. Thanks to one of my wonderful professors who suggested I create a support group, which I did. I am currently halfway through my two courses and all fired up to take my last one and my comprehensive exam starting in March. There's no stopping me. I am on track to finish by Summer 2021 and believe me when I say this, it WILL happen (assuming no undue IRB delays). Sir, one of my favorite quotes comes from Desiderata, which states "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself." Hence, I will NEVER compare myself to you or any other human beings. I am running my own race. Cheers!
  17. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    It might not be classified as research in a scholarly sense, but it is still research. Everyone does research, whether they are a scholar or an average Joe. I think the approach and methodologies you outlined are very fitting for this study. Maybe this can be my dissertation research? Absolutely not. But, maybe, just maybe one day when I am PhinisheD, I can take on that challenge.

    Thanks for sharing. I am aware that there are no differences between the generations in terms of the workplace. Last semester in an elective course I took (Teaching the College Student), we had a discussion prompt about millennials in the workplace. Here are two sources I used that support what you said.

    Prossack, A. (2018, July 29). How To Make Your Workplace Millennial Friendly. Forbes. Retrieved from

    Schwantes, M. (2018, May 30). Research Confirms What We All Suspected. Millennials in the Workplace Are Not That Different From Other Generations. Inc. Retrieved from

    "Millennials are also known as Gen Y, Gen Next, Echo Boomers, Screenagers, Facebookers, and the MySpace Generation, and these are just a handful of other names."

    Steve if it makes you happy, my generation is semi-boomers (Echo Boomers) lol. So, don't feel bad, you're in good company.
  18. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Every situation is different and there is no rule here. My case, I hold two traditional masters degree and a non traditional doctorate. I was able to land a full time teaching position that required a Masters degree but my doctorate was considered a plus. Few of the ones you cited have similar situations, they might hold Lecturer or teaching professor or clinical professor jobs that only require a Masters degree but the doctorate was considered a plus.
    There is also an issue of salary, it is not the same the salary that you get an AACSB research University than a small University in a small city. Some of these schools pay salaries as low as 50K that are not of interest to vast majority of PhD graduates from traditional schools so these schools have no choice but to hire the Walden, Capella, etc graduates. I suspect that schools such as Holy Family, Saint Leo, Shorter and Chowan have a hard time attracting faculty due to their limited resources.

    There is also the case of professions that have a hard time attracting people to academia like Accounting and Medicine. A CPA with 10 years of experience makes around 150K and an MD 300K, you are not going to find CPAs or MDs with a PhD willing to go for a 50K or 60K job. Here you will find people with the Capella, Walden, etc PhDs as there are probably 5 positions for every graduate.

    If you search, you find, you will land a full time faculty position with a non traditional doctorate if you are willing to move and build yourself with teaching experience, publications, etc if you are willing to move to another city or country where the opportunity opens. Most people don't get a full time academic job because they are not willing to move, get a low salary or go to another country. If you want to get something, you can get it, the examples that you cited are good examples of people that went for something in spite of limitations.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  19. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    You're absolutely right. There are no hard and fast rules. If you really want something and you're willing to do anything to get it, you certainly can.
  20. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    There are lot of Professors with Nova Southeastern University. One of my former classmate at Nova Southeastern University is now a professor at Georgetown University. There are some professors are George Mason University earned their terminal degrees from NSU.
    chrisjm18 likes this.
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