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.

REMEMBER: Your dean, associate dean, department chair, or whoever, monitors course drops, doesn’t want to see too many of them, ideally none. How many are too many? Tough question! The best thing to do is ask the person to whom you report. Ask what his or her expectations are, then make sure that a few more than that drop. You can do it. Teaching that class was cutting into your personal time anyway, wasn’t it?

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

Revised March 18, 2010


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.

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