Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Adjunct Job

This is the rather belated completion of a belated posting following up the comments I posted on Dean Dad's blog addressing questions from a poster looking for a first job as an adjunct. (You should also look at the comments on the IHE version.)

I pointed the poster to my "jobs" articles, but I thought I should pull out the ones that I think are of greatest relevance.

1. Part 3, on types of jobs.

You may think you know what academia is all about, but most students (such as the person wrapping up a PhD at Big Name University) have only seen a tiny (and rather elite) slice of it. The starting point is to have a vague idea of the differences between where you went to school and the 4-year or 2-year schools you want to work at.

2. Part 5, on getting a CC job

One of the themes in my article that also showed up in the discussion in Dean Dad's blog is the importance of teaching experience. It's great that this person is thinking about how to get an adjunct job a year before seeking it, but I think that person should get at least a single good class worth of experience before leaving Big Name U to head west for a job.

I mean, the only thing you might need to do to get an adjunct job is call or drop by the relevant department office this week. Seriously. I think we just covered one of the sections for majors a day ago, and I am sure there are still some classes being taught by Professor Staff or Ms TBA. We don't quite go beating the bushes near the homeless shelter (that disheveled teacher in surfer shorts is a fulltimer), but that is a common snarky suggestion directed at the Dean at this time of year.

That said, the time to get your name in the hopper is when the full-time sections are set and the adjuncts are getting lined up. This could be anywhere from late spring to early summer depending on how well managed the college is.

3. An article about my CC students

I'll repeat that my students may not be typical. We are a largish CC that feeds a large university with the sort of programs (such as engineering) that attract a significant number of students to us who need to take calc-based physics or organic chemistry. But our students are different, in aggregate, from the ones who start as freshmen at Wannabe Flagship. The key point is that there are really good reasons for the interview questions about reaching "different types of learners", and that you will be more successful if you know something about the student body of the school you want to work at. More successful at getting the job, but also more successful in the job.

If you want to know more about the CC environment, there promises to be a lot of interesting information in a special report from the National Center for Education Statistics about community colleges. (I have not had time to read it yet, but the Feds collect every bit of statistical data you can imagine.)

Those, and the links in "Part 5" to the resources at the Chronicle and IHE as well as other blogs, should get you started.

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