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Continuous Learning For Professors

Continuous learning for professors

At many universities and in many companies, professional development is important. We are often asked to have a certain number of professional development hours under our belt on an annual basis. Sometimes, collecting these credit hours can feel a bit like just ticking off a box.

On the other hand, for professors it is important to remain up to date with new advances. In my opinion, the best way to stay up to date is by reading journal papers and books, and by going to conferences. Funny enough, the hours spent in our office reading about the latest developments typically don’t count as professional development hours, because there is no way to account for self-guided learning and study.

In my case, I combine a number of strategies, to keep learning and also get my required number of hours: conference travel, reading about new topics, taking courses (in person and online), and keeping an open mind.

This year, in particular, I am taking a number of Coursera courses thanks to our faculty development program, and I am complementing these courses with books. In particular, I have a number of topics that I want to explore:

  • machine learning,
  • further developing my Python skills,
  • reading about nanomaterials and biomaterials,
  • learning life cycle cost analysis, and
  • brushing up on my Bayesian statistics.

These are quite a number of topics, and it is always a struggle to find the time to dedicate to studying, but I hope to progress bit by bit on learning about these topics this year.

How do you learn about new topics as a faculty member?

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