Wow, I could be a Super Professor!

An email tells me that “Your name has been submitted for Super Professors, which is part of Faculty Row’s global academic network”. The signatory is Jeffrey Finder, who describes himself as the ‘Academic Director’of an organisation called Faculty Row Corporation, with head offices in Madison Avenue, New York.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

I can’t pretend to have been thrilled. A colleague had received a similar invitation, with identical wording. And all academics receive a steady flow of emails making fabulous offers. Faculty Row, with its offer of ‘official super professor’ status, hope to appeal to our vanity and our awareness of the value of networking. So what services does it offer?

According to their website,

Faculty Row is a Private Network originally developed for educators and researchers to connect, collaborate, and share ideas nationally. Faculty Row is now the leading network of experts for over 100,000 academics globally.

The main services it provides are a news update, apparently culled from the web; press releases promoting new publications and other activities; an online networking facility; and access to information on new career opportunities from what it describes as its ‘partner’, the open website Jobs.ac.uk.

Most of its current members appear to be based in the USA, but I found one who describes himself as a ‘Lecturer’ in the philosophy department at St Mary Immaculate College, part of the University of Limerick. I could not find his name on the department’s website, so presumably he is not a full time academic. Another turned out to be adjunct professor at Hamline University, in Minnesota, a third an associate professor in New Mexico.

In exchange for these services, you pay a fee. The rates vary depending on circumstances, but a one year subscription for US Faculty will cost you $199, while academics outside the USA can pay £399 for a three-year membership.

So what do you think? Value for money, or candy for suckers? And perhaps more seriously, which social media site is most productive for scholars?

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34 thoughts on “Wow, I could be a Super Professor!

  1. Why is there a commercial in this blog? Because this organization is a lucrative profit making business. Much of the opinions shared by faculty and students read like a tabloid. I agree with the opinion (candy for suckers) given in this blog.

  2. Thanks for writing about this. I just received a similar invite. It reminds me of those many “Who’s Who” setups. Honestly, the last thing I want or need is more web presence – that just invites more random emails, which means less time to actually teach or read or focus on my actual work! And for this I’m gonna pay? Joey’s comment said it all: such sites seem to be all about the wallet.

  3. I got the invitation this morning and didn’t even look at the web site but just looked it up and am finding people asking questions about it. It does sound like a Who’s Who scam. A moderate fee would be worth it if there were a real service or unique information. $200 a year is pretty steep and one would expect real benefits for that kind of money. I could start my own web site for less money than that, and of course I could start a blog for nothing. The real way to promote yourself if you are an academic is to publish and present at conferences. You can write to the people you are interested in without any invitation. There is almost never a gate keeper. Hey, if you want to submit your book or proposal to Oxford University Press I’m sure you can find someone above a secretary or the equivalent of an HR drone to look at it and give you an honest assessment.

  4. I wasted my time on a phone interview which ended up me describing for 20 minutes verbally what is on my CV – the number of presentations, publications, book chapters, etc. I started getting annoyed and asked if they would actually interview me and she had nothing except canned questions. Afterwards, I turned it around and started to grill her on what the value of Faculty Row is to a true academic and she started getting flustered and just said “networking”. I don’t think I will be invited to their prestigious society, because I accused her of participating in a scam service and hung up!

  5. It is a mass mailing for a vanity organization. A good simple test to identity spam arriving in your email account is the absence of your name actually appearing in the email. This email, like email mysteriously originating from Nigerian banks with found money, starts with a simple “Hello”

  6. Hello, yes i agree, instant recognition of SPAM, i live and work in Saskatchewan, Canada, and I have no need for this sort of group. Thanks everyone for their input, maybe we should all for a networking group! haha.

  7. Hi: I am a Super professor and have been for three years. I am no spam and no vanity person. I have found the work of Faculty Row to be terrific and they offer some services that many faculty will find useful. At a time when schools are taking away so much of the value of being a professor I find that the Faculty ow people are trying to come up with ways to help us add value to what we do.

  8. Please have a look at the Russian Fairy Tale “Through fire, water and … brass pipes”. The title “Superprofessor” belongs to the “brass pipes – area”. I have cancelled today my third invitation for a so called “Super Professors Review”. Greetings from Germany!

    • Wasja, the only “Superprofessor” I know … from TV in my childhood (the scene is really worth to translate it from the Russian language; sorry, I found no English version). Greetings to all ordinary people!

  9. this is intriguing, I received an email first that someone submitted reviews for me on SuperProfessor and as I was just ending a course I teach at UAB, I thought it could be one of the students that had suggested me or so…. then I filled out something on the webpage and got calls to both office and cell from Amy Hunter, telling me about all the great stuff that they offer. I thought up to then that this is a legit thing (and it may still be). What led me to believe it may be a worthwhile thing was that they claim to have “Fulbright Scholars, TED Speakers”, – well I know I am gullible and vain but are there really such scholars members in this high-brow Facebook?
    other posts on the web say that the founder runs this out of his bedroom!!!! Very legit, also looks like all the posts on the page are just re-posts from FREE websites. If y’all have LinkedIn, I’d forget about this one.
    Oh yeah the best thing is that during my “interview” the lady made it appear that they are really a legit club like how many publications, book chapters, nobel prizes, space flights and time travels I have accomplished. then powpowpowpowpowwww (like the fox says) it costs MONEY!!!! and lots ($200 or $300 1 or 2 years) of it, uh, WTH??? Nein Danke, Non merci, no thanks…..
    I’m not planning on being one of the poor schmucks on the front page…. sorry mishuggene idea 🙂
    cheers,
    David E. Molash

  10. Thank you for writing this. Now this is how networking should proceed – helpful information that arms adjunct flotilla against the sharks.

    • I meant flotsam. It’s nice to feel as if one is in a flotilla, rather than isolated and vulnerable flotsam. Thanks again.

  11. I just received my first invitation today. My students already think I’m a super professor; I certainly don’t need to pay anyone a dime to be listed somewhere as a Super Professor, and I’m at a loss to imagine why anyone would do that.

  12. i just received such an invitation. i’m a ‘super professor’ (professor in a British university), and i responded as following:
    Steven, I’m thrilled to be a considered as member of the Faculty’s Row Global Network. However, as a super professor, I wouldn’t want, and I believe that neither you are, to see the title being used without discrimination. Thus, in order to allow you to use my name and to include me in your list of Super Professors, I charge $550 for including my name in the list, annually.
    Please, feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

    Regards,

  13. I just received an invitation and I work in IT at a university. The only instruction I provide to students is help understanding networking theory if I should be asked.

    And now I can be a Super Professor? Wow, it’s like magic. Do I still need to apply for an instructor position or does membership grant me the right and privileges as a Super Professor?

    Yeah folks, it’s a scam. Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts and experiences

  14. I posted a similar question as to what do they do a couple of years back on a science forum. After a spate of false post, phone calls from the founder asking me to remove my question, they contacted my university to state that they were going to sue me? I only looked this up again out of curiosity as I have started to receive the emails again.

    • Scott, that sounds an unpleasant experience. I’ve never had any complaints from the founder or anyone else associated with the organisation. But I am happy to allow them to post on here if they wish to do so.

      • yes, in the end it wasn’t worth the hassle and myself and the science forum agreed to remove the post. I should probably correct the above statement from “sue” to “pursue legal action”. One possible difference was that my forum post received views in excess of 6000 on a counter, so I’m guessing it was easy for them to see how much money was potentially being lost…

  15. An unintentional tragicomic parody of academe that flourishes around the gap between a wide-eyed world that continues to go to Universities for knowledge and the reality of a long-dismantled commercially-oriented academe.

  16. It is better to join Researchgate if you are interested in networking with academics. It is free, and you can keep track of peers’ publications.

  17. Who needs an ego massage from former Wall Street broker Jeff Finder (if that’s his real name)? $200 a year for the privilege of hype about so-called “super” professors is simply ridiculous.

  18. There are 100,000 members according to their website. They charge $100 a year after $300 for the first year. This organization or one man makes $10M per year for managing a website???
    This person is a “super” rich!!

  19. I just received this email as well. I’m an adjunct teacher. They called and asked me a handful of questions about what I do and have done in regards to training or teaching. They were excited to be the first to tell me I was accepted. They didn’t ask me how long I’d been teaching/training and I didn’t need to give them a resume or CV, nothing other than my word and they will do all this marketing for me. I heard the sales pitch of, “so which one will work best for you?” the assumption that I will take a 1 or 2 year membership. I said no, so they offered me 6 months at a reduced amount. I just felt like a sales pitch not an opportunity. Thus, my search for some answers and here I am. No thanks.

  20. Faculty Row is like Who’s Who in Academia. You pay a fee to get published in their directory. The selection process is computer generated. I can’t imagine that anyone who pays the fee is ever turned down.

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