By Dr. Kevin Kuznia and Bill Davis
Pracademic \prac-Ə-‘dem-ik \ n (2009) A member of an institution of learning who has extensive background, methods and knowledge of a specific discipline and uses that experience in the course of instruction.
Paul L. Posner is a professor and director in the Masters in Public Administration program at George Mason University and serves in the American Society for Public Administration. He has served for many years with the U.S. Government Accountability Office as managing director for federal budget and intergovernmental relations. Posner stated this in the Journal of Public Budgeting & Finance: “a Pracademic is a person whose career spans the boundaries of academia and practice. “ Posner (2009) says that they have significant experience in both worlds and can jump between then with ease. Dr. Posner is describing many faculty in the ranks today who are teaching in colleges and universities.
Davis, MA, CM|
Instructors and Professors today have real world experience, successful past and present careers and they can be considered pracademics. They are highly skilled and experienced in their respective fields. They utilize their expertise to provide students with timely advice, coaching, training and feedback. This along with excellent service, care and encouragement helps students make the intellectual connections they need to be successful in their chosen discipline. Ultimately, the goal is to help students increase their knowledge, build upon their strengths and help them grow in other related areas as they make new discoveries. When pracademics combine their abilities with course tools and applications, the student has a clear path to become successful in any endeavor they choose.
As pracademics, it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and experiences as we commit and follow our high quality teaching standards. This “Best in Class” approach ensures high quality teaching, engagement, facilitation, coaching and student support. Being student centered, we provide students with a meaningful and gratifying learning experience, academic rigor and the service they need to gain an optimal transfer of content and theory. It is important to remember we are preparing adult learners for leadership in their personal and professional lives in the 21st Century, and beyond.
Kevin Cope (2012) in his book, Seeing the Bigger Picture – Improving Your Business Acumen tells us that there are five business drivers which are cash, growth, profits, asset utilization and people. As pracademics, we need to know the people side well and leverage that in connecting with our students. Since our students are atypical from stereotypical university students, they have accumulated life experiences. Knowing that these students come to our University with experiences and knowledge in diverse areas, we can leverage that into practical learning activities that enable them to draw on their prior skills and knowledge. Furthermore, these students are readily able to relate new facts to past experiences and enjoy having their talents and knowledge explored in a teaching situation (Wynne, n.d.).
The online classroom is the platform (stage) where the pracedemic practices his or her craft, and students can take action on what they learn. The instructor promotes student engagement so they can display their knowledge through social and active learning methods and process. As pracedemics, it is our responsibility to promote active learning, which is the process of doing and observing and the process of dialogue with self and others. So much engagement is possible within an online course and adult learners engage their instructors and peers. There is a dyadic process that occurs which is the relationship between those leading the discussion and those following. All of those who lead and follow influence each other over time and they motivate each other.
Dr. Ron Beach (2013) shared a quote in 2013 and said “Dr. King said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically; Intelligence plus character – that is the goals of true education. One of the exciting aspects of being a scholar is that we have the opportunity to touch so many people and the ripple effect is huge.” Many pracademics bring in their years of higher education and experiences forward into the classroom and do exactly that. They teach, discover, research and they play it forward. They all have a strong passion and purpose to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
As a pracademics their role is vital to promoting their university’s mission. So as you facilitate the learning of your students, remember, your skills and experience, combined with your students thirst for knowledge creates a dynamic atmosphere for fostering learning and growth.
Beach, R. (2013). Personal Conversation, Ashford University.
Cope, K. (2012). Seeing the Big Picture, Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career,
and Company, Austin, Texas, Green Leaf Books.
Posner, P. L. (2009). The Pracademic: An Agenda for Re-engaging Practitioners and Academics.
Public Budgeting and Finance, 29(1), 12-26.
Wynne, R. (n.d.). Characteristics of adult learners. Retrieved fromhttp://www.assetproject.info/learner_methodologies/before/characteristics.htm