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Mapping Your Academic Career: Charting the Course of a Professor's Life Paperback – August 9, 2015
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"I experienced the blessing of team teaching with Gary Burge at Wheaton College for several years. Like his teaching, Mapping Your Academic Career is filled with wisdom, insight and the sort of interdisciplinary courage that makes scholars grow and prosper. This book will be a treasure to faculty members at any stage of their academic careers." (Mark R. McMinn, professor of psychology, George Fox University)
"Gary Burge, in his book Mapping Your Academic Career, brings needed wisdom for those who are on lifelong journeys as academics. He draws on the insights of developmental psychology but grounds it in an understanding of the practice of spiritual disciplines in order to assist independent-minded academics in navigating the ongoing tensions of working within the constraints of an institutional mission, while being on their own life journey of identity formation." (Janel Curry, provost, Gordon College)
"This book is wonderfully humane: humane because it does not say what a generic faculty member should look like, but instead carefully considers the developmental stages that take place in a professor's life; wonderful because Burge's book is brimming with deep insights, helpful anecdotes and wise counsel. His vision for faculty mentoring could especially yield great fruit for all who will follow it. Highly recommended to administrators and faculty alike." (Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College)
"Professor Burge has offered the academic community an exquisite gift: a guide to those called into the teaching vocation within higher education. It is a handbook of sorts―a resource for faculty at each stage of their careers so that they can effectively steward their lives and the work to which they are called. The book reflects a theological vision for this good work and is also eminently practical, with timely advice for young, middle-aged and older faculty." (Gordon T. Smith, president, professor of systematic and spiritual theology, Ambrose University)
"Writing with the careful insights and institutional understandings of a seasoned academic, Gary Burge offers wise counsel and sage advice for those who serve in the academic community. Framing the various aspects and stages of an academic career in terms of security, success and significance, Burge applicably, sensitively and skillfully guides the reader through this pilgrimage in a most helpful manner. Mapping Your Academic Career should be required reading for all new faculty development programs. Morever, this highly reflective and valuable work deserves a wide readership among those who have been teaching for many years, as well as administrators and board members alike." (David S. Dockery, president, Trinity International University)
"Gary Burge aptly applies classic theories of psychological development to the experiences of faculty across the career path. With the turn of each new page, Gary unveiled both my fears and hopes as a junior faculty member. This book inspires self-examination and emotional growth as a means to a meaningful career. Mapping Your Academic Career would be an invaluable addition to any orientation program for new faculty." (Elisha Eveleigh, assistant professor of psychology, Wheaton College)
"Gary Burge proves himself to be a faculty sage with these wise, perceptive and practical words for faculty at every career stage, and for those who work with them." (Joel B. Green, dean of the School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary)
"Mapping Your Academic Career is an important contribution to the faith-based literature on higher education. Burge offers an enormously helpful model of faculty development for those who desire to be more effective servant-practitioner-scholars. This book should also be read by anyone seriously interested in preparing the next generation of college students and teachers. Frankly, there is no other book quite like it!" (Richard E. Butman, professor of psychology, Wheaton College)
"Mapping Your Academic Career is written for professors, and every professor ought to read it. . . . However it is used, it sheds clear light on every major stage and aspect of a professor's life, wisely advising how to navigate risks and pitfalls, and how to become and stay healthy and truly successful as a professor." (Joseph D. Wooddell, Criswell Theological Review, Vol. 14, No. 1)
"As a midcareer professor who recently faced unexpected twists and turns in my career, I found the book quite helpful. Some of the opportunities and situations he described are ones that seem to speak to me directly. I could imagine this book being one of the resources in a new faculty orientation program. In addition to new faculty, I suspect many faculty from other cohorts may find this a helpful resource as they reflect on their own academic careers." (Derek Schuurman, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, June 2016, Vol. 68, No. 2)
"Here lies a short and easy-to-read book about how academicians can thrive in the academy. Thanks to Dr. Burge and IVP." (Scott, The Prodigal Thought, September 11, 2015)
"The roadmap of Burge's model is insightful, yet simple. 'Charting the course of' a professor's vocational trajectory is sharpened as he or she actively reflects on and responds to various life and vocational challenges. This process potentially leads a professor into the next cohort, reflecting a more adequate perception of one's professorial motivation, values, role and relationships. On the other hand, as Burge warns us, 'We can fail in any cohort if we are not self-aware.' . . . Burge's book serves as a refreshing resource for individual professors wishing to understand the particulars of their development, and for campus resource people who champion faculty development, including new faculty mentors, faculty learning communities, and executive-level college administrators." (Phil Howard, Advance, Fall 2015)
About the Author
Gary M. Burge (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. His passion in teaching, research and writing is how the unique world of the Middle East in antiquity shapes how we read the New Testament today. Among his many published books are Theology Questions Everyone Asks (with coeditor David Lauber), The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary (general editor with Andrew Hill), The New Testament in Antiquity (coauthored with Lynn Cohick and Gene Green), John: The Gospel of Life and the award-winning Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians.
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As has been noted by other reviewers, Burge uses a three-cohort model that proves helpful. More than anything, his book underscores the reasons for and deep value of universities assisting, supporting, encouraging, actualizing, and celebrating the scholarship of its faculty of all ages and disciplines.
Such scholarship includes publishing (by which Burge means critical reviews, journal articles, and academically-focused books). It also includes speaking engagements (although Burge seems quite antagonistic toward faculty who speak anywhere outside the strict boundaries and exclusivity of academia). Worse, any interactions or interviews with the mass media appear to be verboten. These strictures, I fear, may do more unintended harm than good. Instead, why not embrace a more comprehensive approach to scholarship that is deeply rooted in the Academy without tying the hands of our faculty?
Then again, Burge has done a great service for the 1.54 million college and university faculty in the U.S. Again, I'm happy to endorse his book.
2473Burge draws on the insights of developmental psychology and applies it to academia, particularly the vocation of professor. He identifies three developmental cohorts that faculty goes through out their careers. Cohort 1, represents professors starting their academic career (rough age range is 28-38); Cohort 2 are established professors (rough age range 34-55); Cohort 3 are professors nearing the end of their career (age range 50-70) (23).
Each stage in a faculty's career has its own characteristics, dangers and goals. Professors in cohort 1 are looking for security . This cohort is the stage where professional core identity is formed, peer relationships are formed, and professors receive validation from their students and institution (30-43). There are also accompanying risks with this stage: skill failure, failure to assimilate, cynical peer groups, toxic anxiety, challenges unique to female faculty, and issues around personal boundaries (43-55). If all things go well, cohort 1 comes to a close with security, often in the form of tenure
Cohort 2 is made up of those who found security but are pressing forward to develop a successful career. Here too it is possible for professors to go off the rails (i.e. disengaging and feeling entitled after you receive tenure). Burge warns, "We can fail in any cohort if we are not self-aware" (66). It is this stage where professors hone their teaching skill, bring mastery and focus to their disciplines and find 'their voice' (67-78). However cohort 2 professors run the risk of failing to develop personally, growing increasingly egocentric, or experiencing increased dissonance with their academic institution. The proper close of this cohort would mean mastery in teaching and scholarship, and a successful career.
Cohort 3 is occupied by significance. Professors at this stage experience a change in their role, sometimes a diminishment. They are no longer the movers-and-shakers and their comptenecy in their disciple may slip as a result. Yet their understanding of their role and contribution also changes. A few may become 'legacy scholars' with a solid and growing list of publications. Others may become sage elder offering wisdom and mentoring a younger generations (111). This risks of this cohort include disengaging and disinterest in their careers, self absorption and reculsivity, technology anxiety, and role confusion. But those who master these will pour into the lives of younger, up-and-coming professors. This cohort closes with retirement.
I am not a career academic but have friends in that world and recognize some of the challenges that Burge describes. I think he has keen insights for professors and faculty development programs. Anyone in that world will find this book extremely helpful, irregardless of whether they teach at a Christian institution like Professor Burge or at secular inistution. I give this book four stars and will be recommending it to several of my friends.
Note: I received this book from IVP Academic in exchange for my honest review.