I am rounding off my posts celebrating my ten years as a faculty member, by reflecting on what has changed for faculty members in the last ten years. Without much further ado, here is my list of ten things that have changed for faculty member in the last ten years:
- Teaching material: When I started teaching, having a whiteboard and a marker was sufficient for teaching a class. I used slides only when I had a difficult sketch to show or a photograph to project with a concept that I wanted to illustrate. I did not have full powerpoint presentations for my lectures. Nowadays, I have everything in presentations, and I use various online tools (Quizziz, Edpuzzle, Brightspace, Mentimeter etc) in class and as part of the class preparations.
- The rise of AI: A new development is of course the rise of artificial intelligence. While I don’t know yet what AI will mean for my job in the coming years, it is something I am thinking about, something to consider when grading student assignments, and something to be on the outlook for
- Online collaborations: Ten years ago, online meetings took place on Skype, sharing screen was not possible yet, and my collaborators in Holland had to squeeze together behind one laptop to talk to me. Times have changed, and online meeting tools have improved so much.
- More email: There seems to be no end to the amount of emails that are generated nowadays. There is a lot of spam that still comes through my filters, and while I have unsubscribed from almost every possible mailing list that I am not interested in anymore, there seems to be always still more Stuff showing up.
- Students are different: Gen Z are different students, and those who were students during the pandemic are different as well. Different students require different teaching, so I have had to adapt.
- Larger administrative demand: As the number of direct supportive administrative staff has been reduced, there is more administration that comes on professors. From making copies and booking trips, to serving on administrative committees for accreditation etc, the administrative demand seems to be every-increasing.
- More pressure to publish: When I was a PhD student, there was no expectation on me to publish. Now, we expect undergraduate students to publish. We also expect more papers from faculty members.
- More pressure to be “visible”: With the rise and fall of the big social media platforms, the question nowadays is not only how we can be more visible (online and within the university and country), but also which platforms will be the future of digital science communication.
- More outreach activities to get students: In the modern university, recruitment is important. Some careers, such as civil engineering, seem to be on a downward trend internationally, and there is pressure within the university to keep the student numbers steady or increase these – so there is more emphasis on activities and events for high school students to motivate them to select this career and university.
- You need the internet all the time: In the past, I could disconnect from the internet and still be able to work. Now, we need the internet for our licenses and documents, and it has become nearly impossible to work offline.
What do you think, how have the expectations on faculty members changed over the last ten years?