On Monday afternoon, Ray Cox and Mark Levin gave a talk about how managers can break into teaching. Some quick tips from Mark and Ray (though not Bob and Ray, they were still pretty punchy) on how to break into teaching at the MPA, undergraduate or community college level:
- Start with your family. Teaching will take time away from whatever free time you currently have.
- Check with your council. Reassure them that this extra duty will not impact your performance, and could even have a positive impact on your work.
- Pitch your passion to a local school. What is one thing you are an expert in, and you are excited enough to teach? Budgeting? Performance measurement? Economic development? Community Outreach?
- Start as a guest lecturer; this often leads to an adjunct professorship.
- Don’t worry if you don’t have a PhD. A PhD is great, but only really necessary if you want to become a full-time professor and join the faculty.
Check-in with your state association, and Range Rider. Some state associations have relationships with MPA programs, and many Range Riders speak at schools to promote the profession. They could help facilitate contact. If they don’t have those connections, that’s a great opening to be the one who creates those connections!
Teachers have a huge impact on attracting students to the local government management profession. Most students or Fellows I speak with say, “My professor told me to apply for a fellowship, and it was one of the best career moves I’ve made,” or, “My advisor told me to join ICMA, and I’m glad I did.” And think about it – some of our most interesting professors teach from experience, with real stories and the power to inspire from lessons learned in practice.
ICMA has some resources for those who teach, and are interested in teaching. Visit:
- ICMA.org/careers (scroll down to Academic Resources to see all the tabs), and
- ICMA.org/press (scroll down to Resources for Instructors).