5 Top Qualities of a Great College Professor

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Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: March 26, 2024, Reading time: 4 minutes

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A college professor’s job is not easy. The experts in their focus on study or discipline, many of them work long hours and multitask to be an example of what makes a good professor.

Teaching and grading students, in which they are expected to be highly trained and skilled, are just the tip of the iceberg.

Should the job call for it, professors can perform tasks that run the gamut from overseeing the work of research teams to leading an entire department.

Most—but not all—academic institutions require their college and university professors to be doctorate holders.

As subject experts, professors who have spent years researching to obtain advanced-level knowledge and successfully reached the pinnacle of their educational journey have the upper hand when it comes to getting hired.

college professor

Beyond academic qualities, a college instructor’s attributes make them suitable for the job.

A great college professor is one who is not only academically qualified but also has what it takes to, ultimately, create a learning environment that is conducive to learning, motivates students, and encourages participation.

As college professors are responsible for shaping future professionals, it is crucial for them to possess the right attitude.

1. Fascinating Character and Effective Teaching Style

college professor

Great professors don’t only mold minds; they establish strong connections and communicate with students of the most diverse personalities.

An effective college professor should be able to think outside the box, innovate, and inspire to break the limits of lecture halls and bring out the best in every student.

College instructors need to be flexible and up-to-date with current trends to engage students and keep them interested.

2. Ability to Set Goals

In many ways, setting goals in the academe is just as challenging as achieving them. In the context of college instruction, goal-setting lays out the direction toward achieving specific desired outcomes with effective mentorship in mind.

Because college professors have the power to directly influence their students, every instructor’s goals in each lesson should facilitate ways to keep students committed and consistent in their own individual learning objectives.

3. Cleverness in a Classroom Management

A great professor who knows how to keep a class well-ordered is one who sets the rules and follows them. They utilize classroom management strategies that work and implement strategies that cover the many aspects of teaching.

4. Curriculum Expertise

college professor

College professors are required to possess up-to-date knowledge of the academic content of courses as they pertain to college or university rules.

This means that, while creativity and innovation are highly encouraged, the faculty must always adhere to the standards of instruction set by the academic institution.

Colleges and universities prefer professors who have the ability to structure a topic, organize thoughts and ideas, and deliver the lessons effectively while keeping track of what is and what isn’t acceptable to the school.

5. Expertise in the Subject Matter

It goes without saying that college professors should be experts in their field. More than that, they should also be prepared to answer students’ questions in a manner that presents a precise interpretation.

They do not have to be limited to ideas and information derived from books; rather, they should be able to provide factual knowledge and impart lessons based on relevant experiences.

A perfect professor certainly does not exist, but with the right attitude, they can influence the entire class to work hard, earn their degree, and carve out a thriving career for themselves.

We celebrate college professors who handle the responsibility of ushering in a promising future for college students exceptionally well!

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