Sunday, October 2, 2011
The most valuable professional advice that I ever received (as a practicing lawyer or as a professor) was to develop a strong network of peers and mentors. In the law school setting, it is important to have mentors within your own institution, but often those senior colleagues do not share your research interests or even teaching subjects. Instead, junior profs are helped enormously if we can cultivate relationships with more experienced teachers and scholars in our subject area at other institutions. Those external relationships can also lead to varied other opportunities down the road.
Ben Barros gave me the opportunity to begin blogging at PropertyProf Blog when I was on the academic market, which was generous and helpful. I'm only in my second year of full-time teaching, but blogging here has allowed me to meet property scholars at institutions across the country. The downside of using blogging to develop one's network is that it is terribly one-sided and passive. You, dear reader, have learned much about me, Steve, Mark, and Ben, but we know little about you. And, perhaps more importantly from a systemic standpoint, you haven't interacted much with each other.
So (without consulting my PropertyProf colleagues) I propose that we begin an informal PropertyProf Mentoring Program. This program would have two main goals:
1. To stimulate the creation of mentoring relationships between junior and senior property profs at different institutions; and
2. To create groups of property profs willing to read and comment upon each others' scholarship.
If you are interested in (1) being mentored; (2) being a mentor; or (3) reading another property prof's scholarship in exchange for their promise to read yours, please either indicate your interest in the comments, or send me an e-mail at marshtd at wfu.edu. I will do my best to match people with common interests, so please indicate your main scholarly interests and the courses you teach in the e-mail or comment.