Adjunct Faculty - Teach What You Know
Want to teach as an adjunct faculty member? You don't need a PhD or a teaching certificate. If you are out of work or simply looking to pick up some extra cash, teaching part time can be a great source of both income and experience.
Chances are, if you have been working in a business for awhile, you have a skill or experience that you can pass along to other people. Many colleges and universities, especially community colleges, are always looking for adjunct faculty to teach classes. Consider them the freelancers of higher education.
The job comes under many names - adjunct professor, lecturer, visiting professor. But they all mean pretty much the same thing. A school is looking for what is essentially an independent contractor to come in and teach some classes. Most schools have more courses than they have full-time faculty to teach them. Or, they want to offer a specialized course that none of the full-time faculty have the expertise to teach. Or, they simply want to save expenses.
Keep in mind, this is not a full-time job, although some people make a living off of adjunct teaching if they can get enough classes to teach. Two things to know; you are going to be paid less to teach a class than a full-time faculty member, and there usually are no benefits.
For years, I worked as an adjunct professor on the side, teaching journalism and communications courses. As an adjunct professor, you usually will be given a syllabus to work off of; a basic outline of the course, the textbooks used, and what the school wants you to teach. You'll have to do some prep work and can often modify the basic outline of the class to give it your own style. Besides preparing for the class and teaching the class, you'll have to also spend some time grading papers.
I found that the teaching was rewarding from another aspect, the satisfaction of seeing people learn something from you. There are often other perks as well such as access to the school's library and online resources, being able to use the school's gym and swimming pool, and access to an office.
So, how do you find out about these adjunct faculty jobs? Check online. You can go to individual schools' websites, or check out places like ">AOL's job site, HigherEdjobs.com, or The Chronicle of Higher Education's job site.
You can also call local colleges and universities. For example, if your expertise is in marketing, you might want to call the local community colleges in your city and find out if they have a business program and if they are looking for any adjunct teachers. You can also let them know you are available if anything opens up. I got more than one adjunct faculty job by calling up local community colleges and letting them know I wanted to teach. They eventually had openings and called me when they were looking.
A colleague of mine, Steve Oldfield, used these tips and landed a great teaching job that could also lead to a career change and a more stable job. Steve works in television news in Cincinnati. It's no big secret that the TV News business is floundering these days. Steve always thought about teaching, but didn't have his Masters Degree. Despite that, he called around to several local colleges and universities and found that one of them, the prestigious University of Cincinnati, had some adjunct positions in its E-Media department reserved for people with extensive professional experience. He also talked to colleagues and that landed him the interview.
" A colleague at my television station was looking to get out of his adjunct duties and he simply made a call to the head of the department and arranged a lunch," Steve told me. "Before the meeting, I fleshed out my resume, adding pertinent classes and other academic credentials, fashioning my one=page resume into a CV ".
Steve landed an adjunct position teaching two courses at the university, and he is working on his Masters in hopes of one day teaching full time.
It's a fun side job to have, and you never know where it might lead. I enjoyed teaching so much that I'm doing it full time now, and having that adjunct experience helped me get my current job.
Geoff Roth is a 30-year veteran of the TV news business. He has hired hundreds of people and counseled both professionals and students as they hunt for jobs. Geoff is chronicling life after TV News at www.nomoredeadlines.com.
He was part of the original staff of CNN when it started up in 1980, and has worked for national and local news organizations across the country as everything from a writer to News Director. He is now rounding out his career as an Assistant Professor in the journalism department at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.