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What Happens to Professors If No One Signs Up for His/her Class?

I participated in a question-and-answer session on Quora in response to a question someone asked, “What happens to professors if no one signs up for his/her class?” I want to share my answer with you.

My Early Start at Boston University

I was originally hired as an Adjunct Professor at Boston University about (10) years ago to teach a graduate-level Agile Project Management course that I had developed for BU. Unfortunately, all of the rest of the BU curriculum at that time was deeply rooted in traditional plan-driven project management; and at that time, Agile was not viewed as a legitimate form of project management.

What Happens to Professors If No One Signs Up for His/her Class?

The Project Management Environment at That Time

That was somewhere around 2013; and at that time, PMI had not really recognized Agile as a legitimate form of project management. Most of the students were at BU were there to get a master’s degree in project management which required taking the standard project management courses and my course was only offered as an optional elective. So, I was “swimming upstream” at that time to try to develop an Agile Project Management curriculum. Some people at that time were very deeply rooted in a traditional plan-driven approach to project and saw Agile as something for cowboys and heretics who were not willing to follow a traditional plan-driven approach to project management.

Why Did My Course Not Run?

It should be no surprise that since my course was an optional elective, it didn’t get enough students to run the course and the course was not offered that semester. So, I went off on my own and developed a complete, online Agile Project Management curriculum that is now offered on three different training platforms and has a total of over 200,000 students. Since that time, I have also published (3) books on Agile Project Management and my latest book is used as a graduate-level textbook in several universities. That latest book was originally published in 2015 and the second edition of the book has just gone to print and will be released in early April.

What’s the Moral of the Story?

The moral of the story is there are many other ways to successfully teach and spread knowledge other than working as a professor in a university and you shouldn’t limit yourself to being a university professor. That’s especially true if you want to “pioneer some new ground” that goes beyond the university’s standard curriculum.

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