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Career Story: Professor Of Public Policy At A State University

Professor Of Public Policy At A State University

Job Title: Professor

Type of Company: A major state university.

Education: BA, Social Science, Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH) •• MA, Regional Planning, University of North Carolina •• MA, Public Administration, Harvard University

Previous Experience: I worked as an urban planner for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, served as Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina and professor of City and Regional Planning. I have also been the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Mayor of Chapel Hill.

Job Tasks: I teach both undergraduate and graduate students about regional planning and public policy. Class periods are either 50 minutes or 75 minutes two or three times a week. Class preparation takes me twice as long normally as the time I spend in class. I conclude my lectures to the class with vigorous question and answer sessions. Students are required to take exams and write term papers which I read and have to grade. This is a difficult but necessary part of the educational process.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the contact with the students from whom I always learn as much as I give. Reading term papers can be tedious, but I always learn from them.

The worst part of the job is assigning grades to the students, especially low grades. Fortunately, that doesn't happen very often.

Job Tips: Get as much education as you can. Develop a real passion for what you want to do. Read as widely as you can, both non-fiction and fiction. Preparing to teach requires a lot of education and teaching in a discipline such as mine also involves work in the field. That is why I have chosen to work in policy positions (Secretary and Mayor) and participate widely in civic affairs. Such work serves as an extremely valuable supplement to "book learnin'". In addition to practicing what you (later hope to) preach, reading fiction is an excellent way to enhance your perspective.

Additional Thoughts: Teaching at the university level is a privilege and can be a most gratifying and rewarding as a career. But it involves a lifelong commitment to learning and a willingness to share your knowledge and experience with students. It also requires a willingness to stay fresh in your field by working in the real world, and by doing research, pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.

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