About Dr. Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

My name is Paul Hummel, and I often introduce myself to others as a recovering engineer. If you are familiar with the Dilbert cartoons, let me simply say that I lived all of that. I started my college saga at Illinois Institute of Technology. Eventually, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management. I worked for many years in industry, and during this time I did some college adjunct teaching. During my career I held several managerial positions in industry, the last as Director of Technology of a division of a Fortune 500 corporation. Then, in 1996, with minimal planning or forethought, I found myself working as a manufacturing consultant on behalf of Elgin Community College (ECC). My career in higher education began to take shape. I fell in love with ECC and with the mission of community colleges in general. I worked fulltime and occasionally taught college courses for my institution and two other colleges. After a couple years I set a goal to move over to the “credit side of the college” and eventually become a college administrator. In 2006, having earned my doctorate in education, I achieved that goal. I was hired by Waubonsee Community College as Dean for Technology, Mathematics and Physical Sciences. I have had the great fortune of working at two excellent colleges. The insights I want to share are drawn from the various college positions I have held. At ECC, in addition to my consulting role, I coordinated non-credit professional development training programs for three years and spent four years advising students in the TRiO Student Support Services program. That position helped me understand college education from the perspective of today’s college students. After seven years at Waubonsee, I retired April 30, 2013. I now devote my knowledge and skills to upgrading and expanding the websites I created beginning with Adjunct Assistance. I have three other websites: College Teaching Tips, Keys for College Success and Lighthouse for Learning. A lot of work lies ahead for me in terms of upgrading and expanding each of these websites, but I could not be more excited about fulfilling the vision I have for helping college instructors and their students succeed.

Motivation and the College Instructor

I would complete the review of my syllabus, start to move on, and then interject, “I almost forgot something. Did I mention that I won’t be teaching you anything this semester?”

The 1st of 7 Principles of Good Teaching

When was the last time you told a student how sorry you were that he didn’t have the time to complete his paper and then give him another week? My guess is probably never, at least not without deducting from his grade. So don’t expect your students to feel sorry for you with your busy schedule. Don’t expect them to give you a week to answer a question or give them help with a problem.

Connecting with Other Adjunct Instructors

Adjunct Social Networking with Blogs

A few weeks ago, I posted the following discussion question on the LinkedIn Group, Able Adjuncts:

Adjunct Hurdles & Pitfalls – I want to help adjunct faculty avoid the pitfalls I have observed. What helps adjuncts helps students and deans, like me. I would appreciate hearing what, in your opinion, those issues are so I can add them to my blog postings on www.adjunctassistance.com. ..... (read more)

The 7 Principles of Good College Teaching

Principle 4: Prompt Feedback

David Royse (2001) (see my References page) gives an especially good summary of Chickering and Gamson’s findings after many years of research into teaching and learning. Here are the seven principles as paraphrased by Royse: ..... (read more)

YouTube and the College Instructor

Use YouTube Videos as Teaching Aids

Each time I check for online I find more and better videos, ones well suited for the college classroom.  There are variety of reasons an instructor should use this vast resource. ..... (read more)

Dealing With Difficult College Students

You are going to wonder why I am telling you this story!

I recently read The Devil in the White City. This book weaves together the fascinating history of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition with the macabre, heinous acts of one of the world’s worst serial killers. ..... (read more)

College Instructor – Mini-Lesson #1

A simple way to lose your job.

There will always be students who enroll in courses and drop during the term. I put them into three categories:

  • There is the “infant mortality” group who attend one class and then get while the gettin’ is good.
  • There are those who don’t apply themselves and then, well into the course, realize that they are doomed to failure and drop.
  • And finally, there are those who dislike their instructor and don’t feel he is doing the job. They usually hold out until shortly before or shortly after mid-term. By the way, they often complain “to the boss.”

So, how does an instructor keep students in class? Forget it. Why bother? In fact, don’t worry about it if your goal is to lose your job, because you’re history if you lose a significant percentage of your students. ..... (read more)

An Instructor’s Self-fulfilling Prophecy

You really need to watch what you say!

Two students came into my office to complain about an adjunct instructor. By the way, this instructor got very good students evaluations for the course he taught for me in the fall. One of the things the students told me was that sometimes the instructor refuses to answer questions. “I am not going to spoon feed you,” is what they alleged he said. Let the record show that I have not yet confirmed this with the instructor. ..... (read more)