Preparation. This is my first post. And I want to start this blog by showing you what you can do to get your start as an adjunct professor. Unfortunately, a lot of schools require a Master’s Degree to consider you as an adjunct. It’s not impossible to break in without it, but as far as how I was able to get my foot in the door, I was checking that box that says “Master’s Degree in X”, as I have a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. But, as a student, I knew a lot of teachers that didn’t have a Master’s Degree and were able to compensate it with experience in the field. One of my best teachers didn’t have a Master’s degree, but I later found out he was on the road to getting one. I don’t think getting a Master’s degree will hurt you, but if you don’t have one, don’t let that discourage you. You can simply put on your resume that you will be starting graduate school next semester or a year out. Another trend I have found is that adjuncts are scarce nowadays, and I believe there is more opportunity, perhaps because of the pay. So even if you don’t have a Master’s Degree, by all means apply.
Search. There are so many websites out there that are now advertising higher education jobs. The one that I have used is called “HigherEdJobs.com”, and I was able to get my most current position at a university. Back when I first started, I did it the old fashioned way and went into the university website to look for jobs. Nowadays the school will have an employment opportunities section, and you can apply through there. Some schools are still doing it the old fashion way and asking the application to email “firstname.lastname@example.org” with the following:
- Cover Letter
- 2 References
Believe it or not, there is someone that will receive your application.
Interview. You’ve sent everything, meet all their prerequisites, and are asked to come in for an interview. The interviews, aren’t actually interviews, but a lecture you will be giving to a panel of senior professors. Again, it sounds intimidating, but if you practice, it really isn’t anything out of the ordinary. They will more than likely give you a couple of topics, and you choose the one you want to lecture on. Make sure you get how long they expect you to teach, so that you can condense your lecture into that time. Study your subject matter, and know your presentation inside out. My first presentation I didn’t use powerpoint, I used the good old whiteboard. I chose to teach logic gates, and I decided to integrate the muppets into my lecture. An example I did was “Miss Piggy loves Kermit and Miss Piggy loves to talk”, is that true or false? Captivate your audience, with your knowledge of the material as well as examples that aren’t dry. How different would my lecture have been if I had used “(15 > 10) && (15 > 5), is that true or false?”. You get the point?
Post Interview. If they like you, they will get back to you the same day or max a week. Which means there’s not even time for a thank you card. If you hear back from them in the next 24 hours, I would send a thank you card or thank you email. The positions are usually for the up coming semester, and the department head needs to fill their schedule fast. So just hope for the best, and if you didn’t get the position, there’s always next semester or another school.