I'm currently adjuncting while looking for a full time teaching position. Everyone keeps telling me that I just need to wait, apply to everything possible (I'm limited in location, so that isn't helping), and something will come up eventually. Does anyone have any particular advice on things that aduncts should be doing to improve the likelihood of getting a full time teaching position, or is it really just a waiting game? Thanks.
Date: 11 Mar 2013 15:08
Number of posts: 3
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It may be important to know how long you can afford to wait for a tenure track job to open up. It could take years, or it could never happen at all. I've had 4 friends adjunct in similar situations; only one made it from an adjunct position into a full time lecturer position after 3 years. The others have been adjunct teaching for 2-5 years. Two applied for tenure track positions that opened up at the school they adjuncted for, and both were encouraged to apply, but in both cases the school hired someone else. In my situation, I have adjunct taught on the side for a couple of years now at a satelite school for the one where I am working as a post-doc. In both years I applied for a tenure track position at those satellite schools, and in both years the position was never filled. The fact is, schools can make much more off of hiring 2 or 3 adjuncts than they can hiring a tenure track position. It keeps feeling like they just want to dangle a carrot to keep us all motivated to keep trying as adjuncts. but the reality is, I think, that once they see you in one light (cheap labor) they have a hard time seeing you in another (worth their investment in tenure track salary).
So, your odds are probably quite poor. But, perhaps if you have time and energy to get involved in extra curricular activities at the school or department, they may get to know you and see more value in you as something other than cheap labor. So, when a tenure track position opens up, you may be in a better position for it. But that is a big if and unknown.
So it may be helpful to think about how much you can afford to sink into the effort, for how long can you afford to try, and what is the likelihood that your adjunct position will turn into a tenure track one.
Best of luck to you and I hope you find something great for you in the long run!
Your odds of a full-time hire will probably be better at a community college, especially if you teach there as an adjunct for a number of semesters. In my experience, community colleges are more likely to hire within and to hire from their adjunct pools (at least those who've demonstrated good teaching and a good fit with the CC).