A Book Review
The transition from student to teacher is not automatic, nor is it natural. Years of top-tier, top-notch scholarly research does not entirely equip you to educate a classroom of undergraduate students. You are an expert on a topic, not teaching a variety of courses that might have little to do with your dissertation. So Michael Kibbe has written a fresh and lively guide on making this transition called From Research to Teaching: A Guide to Beginning Your Classroom Career. In it, he loads up inexperienced scholars with useful guidance and tips to become competent educators.
The author is writing specifically for the Christian beginning their career in Christian higher education by making the switch from researcher to teacher. It is not a handbook on how to be a university professor. Instead, Kibbe writes as a friend offering his best advice with pointers on matters like finding a mentor, finding your persona, and finding a way to use your dissertation in the classroom. He encourages his readers to become students of pedagogy. And he shares practical wisdom on balancing family life and using social media.
This book manages to cover a wide array of useful counsel and suggestions. One area of counsel it does not address is the importance of the local church in the life of the professor. This is an important area to overlook. There is some good material on taking time for a “sabbath” (rest), but the Christian educator also requires spiritual nourishment, worship, and service opportunities outside of the school and in the church. And the opportunity to worship God and serve with your students in the local church seems like a significant way to impact your students for the glory of God.
Kibbe has written something timely and realistic. He takes into account the realities of adjunct teaching, online teaching, and even teaching amidst a global pandemic. In the neighbourhood of 150 pages, From Research to Teaching is short and engaging. I read it cover to cover in one night after misjudging my ability to handle the caffeine of a large Tim Hortons coffee. This book is a must for new or prospective professors and would also be excellent for anyone considering a PhD and future career as a professor.
Special thanks to IVP Academic for a free digital review copy of this book. This did not affect my thoughts in any way so far as I know.