The Missing Professor

An Academic Mystery / Informal Case Studies / Discussion Stories for Faculty Development, New Faculty Orientation and Campus Conversations

October 2005
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    11th October 2005
  • ISBN 9781579221386
  • Language English
  • Pages 144 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

Fresh out of graduate school and desperate to pay off her student loans, Nicole Adams joins the faculty at Higher State U, a small university with a dubious past located in the middle of the Midwest.

On her second day of classes as a new assistant professor of philosophy, still flustered and disoriented, Nicole is plunged into a campus-wide mystery. Someone has ransacked the office she shares with the ill-tempered R. Reynolds Raskin, the department's senior professor, and he has since disappeared.

Two weeks later, with Raskin still missing, Nicole receives a threatening phone call . . .

Read one way, this is an entertaining parody of an academic mystery and a humorous take on academic life. Turning the book upside down reveals another purpose. Each chapter is constructed as an informal case study/discussion story, as is made manifest by a series of discussion questions intended for faculty development, new faculty orientation, and conversations among faculty, administrators, and academic staff.

As the mystery unfolds, each chapter finds Nicole encountering challenging situations—such as, the first day of class, student incivility, teaching evaluations, peer observation, academic assessment, the scholarship of teaching and learning, faculty and student rights and responsibilities, core curricula, and tenure standards.

This little book can be read and used both ways: as pure entertainment and as a series of informal case studies, spiced with humor, to help break down academic barriers and promote spirited discussions

"The unique placement of these case studies within the setting of a mystery novel provides a non-threatening context to start useful discussions among faculty and administrators. Each chapter is short enough (six to eight pages) to read in a reasonable time frame. The book does not give answers but provides a fresh way to explore issues common to all colleges and universities.
If you are looking for an innovative way to approach typical teaching dilemmas, The Missing Professor can help. The book is a handy and creative tool for faculty training and development, 'around the water cooler' conversations, graduate assistant training, or similar venues.
Jones' book is well informed and points readers to several complementary resources."

Teaching Theology & Religion

"Any college that adopts this book to promote inclusive discussion with faculty, staff and administrators should see many widespread positive changes. The Missing Professor packs value-per-page few books can match. First, it's a fun read! Through a storytelling framework that would make Kieran Egan proud, the author takes us with newly hired professor Nicole for an outrageous romp through the Higher State campus. Second, it's content-rich. Finally, it has a captivating affective depth. Readers quickly recognize equivalents on any campus to the events and characters portrayed here. How these academic characters interact and treat one another not only creates their institution, but also molds them as people. This is the first book I’ve seen with the courage to look at some common interactions among academics in the eye and extend the invitation: ‘Let's have a discussion about this.’"

Ed Nuhfer, Director, Director, Office of Faculty Development, CSU Channel Islands

"This book is an engaging and amusing way to to introduce many of the issues that confront higher education."

Journal of Chemical Education

"Dr. Jones cleverly uses the mystery genre to create a new type of discussion book for curriculum and education students. His mystery isn't meant to be a tightly structured literary tale, but rather a theoretical study of the problems that graduate students will encounter as new teachers as they enter the marketplace. His discussion of the relevance of old curriculums, the notion of tenure, the sliding motivation of students, approaches to the classroom, and career planning gives students a ruler to use to plot their careers."

Shelley Glodowski

Thomas B. Jones

Thomas B. Jones has thirty-five years experience in higher education as a Professor of History, faculty developer, and academic administrator. He is co-author of Promoting Active Learning: Strategies for the College Classroom.

academic fiction; faculty development; campus converstion