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.
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?