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Get Off the Adjunct Tread-mill

Get Off the Adjunct Tread-mill

Perhaps you want to stay on the adjunct revolving tread-mill. . . . . If not, you may want some guidance in getting off the tread-mill of revolving part-time contracts. This post is dedicated a hard-working adjunct I recently met. Here are some pointers.

1. Finish your education with the market in mind. Typically you need 18 hours in a discipline to teach it. Sitting in a faculty luncheon this week I heard an overworked instructor say that some colleagues could not take her course load. Why? They did not have the right classes. If you want to teach American Literature, see that you have the requisite number of classes to teach in that discipline.

2. Get your papers in order. Okay, your digital portfolio. Ask your professors to see their VITAE. See and do. Then, get some letters of reference on file. Three is a good number.

3. Connect with Social Media. This includes Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. One of the links I follow, @Moodle, was advertising through Twitter. Facebook is good for contacting friends who may know of an opening. Linkedin is a site for professional development and jobs. Connect.

4. Connect socially without the social media. Drop your name. Let Departments and colleagues know. You should know colleagues in the job market, colleagues who have landed a job, and professors through your coursework. Ask them what they recommend. Department chairs may have connections they can tap to get you where you need to be.

5. Vet your future employers. That is, get a feel for the institutions that could employ you. You choose if it will be public, private, and community colleges. If you are open to private industry, then by all means explore that. There are institutions all across the world that would be pleased to hire you. Are you willing to relocate? If not, vet.

6. Up the ante where you are. Some adjunct positions can be expanded into full-time positions. Some adjunct positions can be expanded by doing half-and-half.

7. Subscribe. My professional organization dropped the paper job sheet. It was replaced with a professional search engine. There are two higher-ed search engines that will deliver to your inbox the job search results you want. One is VITA from the Chronicle of Higher Education. The other is Jobs in Higher Ed. Follow one of these links to see what a professional job-search engine can do for you.

8. Take a sabbatical. At many institutions it is still the policy to allow faculty members to take a sabbatical. That creates a full-time hole to be plugged. If their Department Chair knows your Department Chair, you could be the one who plugs the hole. Fill a sabbatical year slot, and it might lead to a lifelong position.