Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Moonlighting Becomes Them: College Faculty Become Entrepreneurs, High-Priced Consultants Off-Campus

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Moonlighting Becomes Them: College Faculty Become Entrepreneurs, High-Priced Consultants Off-Campus

Article excerpt

This year, Dr. Iris Mack realized her proudest

moments when Associated Technologists, Inc.

(ATI) earned Small Business Administration

Certification within three weeks and was

chosen for NASA's quarterly hightech

business forum.

Not bad for an African-American entrepreneur

seeking a niche in the emerging,

ever-competitive high-tech marketplace. As

president of ATI, a company she formed with

several of her closest

friends, Mack foresees a future for her

company that garners new government

contracts and helps corporate clients usher in

new technological advancements.

While the Atlanta-based ATI's

achievements are impressive, they're

especially amazing considering it's an

avocation -- a part-time venture -- for Mack, an

associate professor with the mathematical

sciences department of Clark Atlanta

University. She launched her consulting career

while teaching at MIT.

Teaching Comes First

"Moonlighting. Wow! I haven't heard that

term in a while. That's really old and almost

inappropriate. I don't consider what I'm doing

to be moonlighting. ATI is another of my

ventures and I'm excited about it. I may have

to take a leave from teaching to devote my

energies to building

ATI. My teaching career is my first

endeavor. I do enjoy teaching so I will always

be affiliated with some academic institution,"

says Mack.

On university campuses, in corporate

board rooms, engineering sites and anywhere

there is a need for a highly skilled professional

mind, college instructors solve complex

business problems, help government leaders

and lend a helping hand to redeveloping

communities. While it is not uncommon for law

department, dental and medical educators to

have private practices, those in other areas are

venturing into almost every realm of business

and industry as consultants, practitioners and

developers.

Business ownership is a popular sideline,

but it is not the only type of supplemental

employment educators undertake.

New Wave

Astute, enterprising and determined, many

are reluctant to call it moonlighting. However,

they represent the new wave of educational

experts who are parlaying their knowledge for

increased income, recognition and career

advancement. Experts suggest many of these

educators are slightly younger, better educated

and most of all energetic. While most are men,

women are making inroads in areas once shut

out to them.

"I was almost

forced to start my

company," recalls

Mack. "I had gotten a

bit fed up with

academia. Therefore, I

thought I'd look for

positions in corporate

America and Wall

Street again. Turns out

that many of the

individuals interviewing

me were intimidated by

a young Black woman

who had more

credentials than they

had. I realized that my

best option at the time

was to start my own

company. Another

motivating factor is to

one day have financial

freedom."

College educators moonlight for many

reasons, explains William Kent, an adjunct

creative instructor at the University of

Pennsylvania. "I don't know of any personally,

but I have heard of freeway professors, those

who teach at one college then hop into their

cars to teach at another."

Many of these do so because they are either

at the lower rungs of the tenure track or do not

have a full-time appointment. …

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