As enrollment growth rates at colleges and universities continue to rise, so will job opportunities for post-secondary teachers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that prospective faculty members that specialize in certain disciplines, such as computer technology, information security and economics, should receive better job prospects in the coming years.
For Paul D. Witman, his road toward vocational victory in the educational field intersected quite a few avenues along the way.
“My work started out highly technical,” said Witman, an associate professor and director of undergraduate business and economics programs at California Lutheran University. “After building software for early online banking and then for Internet and automated teller systems, I moved into management while my career was still budding. The latter shift provided me with a wide range of industry contacts, as well as proofs of performance, to illustrate during classroom discussions.”
Why did you become an educator?
“Throughout my 23 years experiencing the technical, managerial and executive aspects of industry, I realized that I have always enjoyed the people development parts of my jobs. By making the transition to academia, I’m now able to work on people development full-time.”
How have your degrees served you?
“Because I’m a deeply rooted techie, my bachelor’s degree is in math and computer science. My master’s and doctoral degrees are both in information systems, technically focused, but also highly attentive to the informational needs of people and organizations.”
What attracted you to business and economics?
“It was a natural outgrowth of my career, starting from technology and moving into management. I ran software development organizations for internal use and external sales, and so I became much attuned to the application of technology to business problems, needs and opportunities.”
What is your message to those pursuing a post-secondary teaching career?
“I encourage folks to find an institution where the mission, educational programs and teaching philosophy fit their interests, and to do some part-time teaching to get a feel for the experience. It’s a low-cost way to get some exposure before jumping in with both feet to get a Ph.D., publish and enter academia full time.”
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.