Though development generally is much needed in all ramifications but recently, nothing compares to an effective professional development which is seen as a method to increase and maintain professional credentials and life skills through both formal and informal learning opportunities. A major and tested approach which more light will be shed on is the academic networking and how it goes a long way in fostering and enhancing a professional development.
Academic networking could be a formal or less formal means by which academics form a relevant connection between or among groups of like-minded people in various ways that would be exemplified. As far as professional development is concerned, the most effective forms of connection required is “same class” or “junior to a senior/student to mentor” connection.
An effective development could spring up because of a contact exchanged at the least expected conference. This could go a long way for an academic who fortunately meets his or mentor at a conference, as a result of this, a mentor could amazingly turn to a tutor! Conferences are very good avenues for people to meet other like-minded individuals and engage in a life-changing chit-chat.
Recently, with the advent of the internet and its evident advantages, academics have over the years adopted and assimilated the use of various academic networking platforms like the popular academic social networking websites, among which is Penprofile. These sites allow for the uploading of important and relevant academic write-ups, articles, journals and important documents that attract professional engagements, comments, and recommendations that are sure bets for the members’ benefits.
An academic networking is not sufficient if certain criteria are not met:
- One of which is the involvement of relevant set of people. Although there might be a strong and a growing connection between individuals who met at an academic conference without a similar vision and mission, their connection wouldn’t be termed as an academic networking
- Also, an academic networking would be termed as one only if there is either a mutual gain or in the case of a “student-mentor” connection, one of the two individuals must gain from the relationship. A relevant relationship between two academics with nothing to gain wouldn’t be termed as an academic networking.
Also, notable academics have over the years testified for effective development in their ability, experience, and exposure as a result of joint research projects they were engaged in with other scholars. Evidently, in the process of sharing ideas over an agreed topic, there is the tendency of gaining important and new ideas from other trusted scholars.
With the massive advantage of the academic networking seen, academics can, therefore, utilize the various networks by:
- First building a professional network
- Getting actively involved in networking activities
- Developing professional contacts
- Maximizing the social media and its power to connect with relevant groups
All things being equal, a strong academic network births the most professional development.