The Professor Profile

(300-500 words): Due in your portfolio by the date indicated on schedule (note the rotating deadline for different sections)

  • Prompt: As you prepare for this assignment, check out this advice on Meeting Professors, Making Connections. This asks you to offer a concise and compelling introduction to the chosen professor’s research and teaching specialization. Treat this as a profile you would write for a popular  magazine; you want to bring the subject and your interaction with them to life. In your profile, you should be sure to touch on the following key points:
    • who the professor or instructor is (name, department, field, their official title, etc.)
    • what they teach
    • what their research involves–the questions that drive it, etc.
    • what makes them passionate about their research
    • how they arrived at  this line of work
    • how their work has engaged undergraduates in some way
    • why you sought out this particular professor
    • how their work relates to your own possible research goals or other interests
    • where you met and under what circumstances (setting the scene might seem beside the point, but it makes for great writing if you can access key descriptive details).
    • what you learned from the meeting (reflection)

Your profile won’t necessarily work through these items in order: you might begin with reasons for seeking this individual out. Or you might begin with the Shakespeare poster hanging on the chemist’s wall. The bullet points above represent info you should gather; how it emerges in the narrative is up to you. You’ll notice that the only questions that really need to be addressed in the meeting are the bolded ones above. The other non-bolded bullets represent info you must gather beforehand, or items that are more reflective. Find your own way to gather the info represented in those four key bolded items. They relate naturally to one another, so they should ideally reveal themselves in the course of a casual conversation. No need to make this a bland interrogation: the professor will not be impressed!  

How to prepare? First, read a few publications by the professor, or at least familiarize yourself with their area of research. And bring a notebook and write everything down. You might be able to record the conversation, but make sure you get permission first in that case.

  • Due Date: In order to give all students an opportunity to interview professors in their field, and to avoid putting a strain on faculty, this assignment has a staggered deadline. For Tuesday sections, this assignment is due in your portfolio by Week 11. For Thursday sections, this assignment is due in your portfolio by Week 14 (note this is Thanksgiving break, so you should complete the interview beforehand).

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