7. What would be the worst thing for you if you failed to live up to what society expects of individuals with PROFESSIONAL doctorate degrees? How did you come to this understanding?
This is one of the more worrying aspects of society. I am seeing more often than is comfortable where professionals are making statements outside their field, outside their skills, or worse outside of ethical limits. Failing in these ways creates distrust of professionals and can set society backward. At one time you could dismiss “quacks” with fake degrees and not hurt the profession. But now some “quacks” are graduates of distinguished universities.
8. Think of an IT professional you consider an exemplar of professionalism. Describe why you chose this person, illustrating with an incident or pattern of decisions or actions that supports your choice.
I find Peter Higgs a great example of professionalism. He spent decades of his life in the pursuit of defining the relationship between particle energy and mass. His theory was not provable in 1964 when he co-authored a paper on the subject. He always maintained focus on the search for truth and was always open to experimentation to disprove. In the face of ridicule for trying to define the “God particle,” he eventually was proven right 50 years later.
9. Reflect on your experiences in college, the workforce, or in the community that have been critical in fostering change in your understanding of what it means to be a professional with a doctorate degree.
It is a responsibility, an honor, an achievement, and a point of pride. In the past, I looked up to my professors over the years and through subjugate eyes saw them as all equally high on a pedestal that I dared not look too closely at – for I was not worthy. I took them as “this is the way” – that they were the standard in every way. Now, I see them as the best of what is a very diverse society. Having a terminal degree in a field does not mean you need to be passionate, professional, an expert, and charismatic all at the same time. It means you know your field at a level that with a combination of passion, professionalism, expertise, and charisma, can create new knowledge or lead others to new limits in the field.