Take Your Old Professor to Work Day … :-)

What do my former students remember about their time at RIT?

If they could do it over what kinds of things do they wish they had learned or paid more attention to?

What things they learned have stuck with them?

Me in full Fall-Winter mode

What have they learned since leaving school?

What advice would they have for current students?

These are the questions that swirl in the head of every college instructor. But how to get the answers?

Introducing “Take Your Old Professor to Work Day” — an offer to my former students wherever they may now be working in North America.

Here’s how it might work (and I’m open to suggestions for refinements here):

  1. You check with your boss and get an OK for your former professor (me) to spend some time in your workplace sometime between Jan. 3 and Jan. 13. The amount of time is flexible on your end, but I’d hope for about a half day, would love a full day and would settle for whatever you can manage. I’m willing to sign non-disclosure agreements or do whatever it takes to make everyone comfortable with an outsider sitting in…
  2. We discuss how it might play out. I’d want some 1-on-1 time to do a short, say 20–30 minutes, tape-recorded interview to answer questions like the ones above. I’d also welcome any opportunities to sit in on your work day to see how you and your business run, to talk to any colleagues who’d be willing to talk about journalism, advertising, PR or social media.
  3. I take you (or you and your boss) to lunch on our dime … it seems like the least I can do.
  4. Once any offers are in I try to arrange a reasonable traveling itinerary.
  5. I do my traveling, visiting former students and collecting data.
  6. On my return I’ll write a series of blog posts for the School of Communication sharing what I learned….

Why would you, former student, want to do this? Don’t take my word for this, but I can add value, however, briefly to your workplace too. This is from Peter Infante, Chief Strategy Officer at Butler/Till Media:

“Having Mike spend time embedded with our teams gave them a valuable outsider’s perspective on their work and challenges. His fresh eyes helped our people rethink and go beyond our tried-and-true approaches. And by giving Mike a behind-the-scenes look at agency life today, we got to play a role in helping him prepare his students, who will be our next generation of employees, to have successful careers.”

Other reasons include to ….
• Set me straight about what we are teaching — the good, the bad (I’m sure there is at least a little of this) and the no-longer-useful (ditto).
• Help current students get a better picture of the work world.
• Show off some of your great work.
• Catch up on School of Communication/RIT news.
• Have my sometimes-different thinking contribute for a few hours or be part of a meeting (if you dare…) 
• See my smiling face….

So, how do you indicate interest or ask questions? It’s simple: Zip me an email to mike.johansson@rit.edu and let’s start a conversation.

In an ideal world I’d like to have some idea if this is going to happen by early-December, so please start thinking about this now.

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