Advice for New College Instructors

Here are three pieces of advice I have for all you new adjuncts and, actually, all you adjuncts and new full-time instructors.  I hope you find my teaching assistance tips of value.  I think you will!

  • Be Prepared! – Do not think that your bountiful knowledge of the subject, years of exemplary experience and charismatic personality will pull you through.  If you have not planned out each class your students will know.
  • Build on Your Strengths – Let student’s know your experience and qualifications and put them to use in your teaching.
  • Don’t Highlight Your Weaknesses – A new adjunct who tells the class that it is his or her first time teaching is setting him or herself up for ridicule and possibly failure.  Some students will consider that sufficient reason to blame their failures on your.  The reality is that you can’t possibly teach the class perfectly the first time.  But let that be a little secret between you and me.  😉

Here are two more pieces of advice that I call Hummel’s Law:

Actually, there are several other pieces of advice I have labeled Hummel’s Law.

Maybe I need to find a new name.  🙁  Anyway, here ya go.

  • Treat everyone – students, colleagues, parents, community members – as if they were a close relative of the president of the college board of trustees.
  • Conduct every minute of every class as if you were being videotaped for review by the president of your college and broadcast on local cable TV.

© 2010 Paul A. Hummel, Ed.D.

Posted August 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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