Since I was promoted to a full professor last year, a lot of my friends call me “professor,” a title which sometimes makes me embarrassed and thinks: “Do I deserve to be called a professor?” I am still embarrassed because I feel my mentality does not reflect the professional quality of a ‘real’ professor. This article aims to describe the attitude and mindset that need to be possessed by a professor. I will strive toward it, Insha Allah.
█ Quality Mentality
This is the main characteristic of a professor, which is concerned with quality than quantity. Please read my article entitled Quantity or Quality? (in Indonesian). I tried to explain the importance of quality in research and teaching in that article. I think someone is not worthy of being a professor if he’s just relying on the quantity of his/her academic works only – although he/she has had long teaching experience.
█ Altruistic mentality
This is the second mentality that must be possessed by a professor – after he/she meets on the quality mentality. A dedication drives this mentality to teach and dissemination of his/her knowledge to others. According to Wikipedia: “Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of ‘others’ toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.“. This is very important because the professors are always dealing directly with the scientific community and students.
█ Educating mentality
Educating is not the same as teaching. In teaching, a professor is expected to be a role model for his/her students. It can not be said “educating” if a professor told that plagiarism is a disgraceful act, while he/she did not appreciate the hard work of students – such as by putting his/her name at the forefront of scientific publication – although all the results in scientific papers based on the outcome of hard work of students, from idea, making proposal and writing publication.
█ Learning Mentality
The professor should always update his/her knowledge all the time. Do not let students said he/she is not feasible as a supervisor. I once met a student who told me about this. It was very embarrassing.
█ Devotion Mentality
Devotion to science and knowledge is the professional mentality of a professor. There are still many “administrative professors” who do not have this mentality – where a person was appointed as a professor not because of his/her academic and scientific achievement but based on his/her administrative position. For example, a person is promoted to the rank of the professor because of his/her administrative positions such as dean or deputy rector.
█ Creativity Mentality
Creativity does not only belong to a professor but also by everyone. However, if the professors are not creative, there will be no discoveries generated by them.
█ Ethical Mentality
In this age of materialism, ethical issues are rarely addressed. Please refer to my article on this subject with the title: Scientific Ethics in Research and Higher Education in Indonesia (in Indonesian). Since the professor working in higher education, the ethic is the most important aspect to be considered and noticed.