If you have to choose between a R1 non-tenure track lecturer position and a community college tenure-track assistant professor position, which would you choose and base on what factors? The R1 position pays more but has little guaranteed job security. The community college position pays less but has excellent job security.
Date: 11 Mar 2015 20:24
Number of posts: 11
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If you had a million dollars, what would you do?
I am only half kidding. What would you like to do for the rest of your life? One option is to consider which choice will best serve your future goals.
At the end of the day, though, I think you're better off with the TT job. You can always take it and go on the market again soon, and if you don't get another job, you still have a job to fall back on. With the R1 non-TT job, MAYBE it will help your future job prospects, but most likely not, and you're guaranteed to have to go back on the job market. It's largely a "bird in the hand vs. no birds in the hand" situation in my mind.
I think you have to carefully consider where you would like to be in the long run.
If you are ultimately wanting a TT R1, R2, or SLAC/w research position, you might be better off demonstrating that you can teach the type of students you would have at the R1. I'm also assuming that you have access to data with which you can continue to publish, and that this is not really a factor in your decision (i.e., you would continue to publish in either position), which is the only way I see you having a chance at a TT R1, R2, or SLAC/w research. Also, I don't see any new research collaborations coming from the community college position. That said, those opportunities may still be limited or unlikely to emerge at the R1, at least there is a possibility.
Finally, by taking the R1 non-TT job now, I can't see why you wouldn't be competitive for TT community college positions in the future.
Good luck - tough decision!
I'm with AsstProf on this.
CC jobs aren't that tough to get, in the grand scheme of things. But they do have a connotation to them, one that isn't very attractive to non-CC positions. Sorry if that sounds snobby, but it's the truth. I was on a search committee a couple of years ago at my TT position, and we wouldn't even consider someone from CC.
So the question to ask yourself (as ananbanon suggested) is what you want for your life. If you go the CC route, you have to be ok with a life directed towards teaching (probably 5-5), and no research. Also, you have to be ok with CC-level students, and if you haven't been in those circles, it can be a shock to work with them. At my school (regional state U), we get some transfer students from CCs, and they are usually terrible, maybe at upper grade school reading/writing/math.
The R1 job is probably easier (3-3 or maybe 4-4 instead of 5-5, as JWH said.) And the R1 students are better prepared on average, so maybe easier to teach.
I'd say it depends on whether the R1 position is something like a renewable lectureship that you might be able to hold for a long time versus a term visiting position that you'll hold for a specific, short time such as 1-2 years. If the former, I might go with the R1 over the CC. If the latter, I might go with the CC for job security.
Do you want to be able to at least moderately engage in research and aspire to teach at a SLAC, R2, or R1 someday? If so - *do not* go for the CC position.
First, I am a huge advocate of the CC system and applaud the many excellent educators who work at CCs. I constantly defend the quality of education - and students - who are at community colleges. That said, a CC is focused on education. Few CCs significantly encourage faculty research, and as a result, I have encountered very few CCs that have resources to support faculty research. As a faculty member at a CC, you may well lack lab space, internal funding for studies, or even access to software like SPSS. Depending on the CC, you might also lack access to any subject pool and the institution may not award course credit for students to work as research assistants.
Another factor to strongly consider is what's expected of faculty at a community college. Most faculty at these institutions teach a 4/4 load with a 5/5 not being uncommon. This is often in addition to significant student advising or service duties. You might imagine that you could handle this and still conduct research, but do not be mislead. When I was on the job market, this is what I thought. I was fortunate to end-up at a SLAC with a teaching load below 4/4 and good research support. But, it's taken me around 2 years after starting to get my research going and begin getting manuscripts ready for submission. With a heavier teaching load and little research support, I bet I'd be stuck.
This all told, if your ideal career is primarily teaching, a CC can be fantastic. A final note - if your R1 is a "lecturer" position, it will be more teaching intensive. Yet, lecturers at R1s often can engage research. As an R1 lecturer, you might have to compete a little for lab space or may have to team up with a tenure-track faculty member on projects, but the teaching load tends to be less and there's at least some support for research.
I hope this is useful!
Seems like the way to go is to take the R1 position and treat it like a teaching postdoc