College Teaching Jobs Forecast

LaborStatistics

College Teaching Jobs Forecast

Competition for tenure-track positions is expected to be high, as colleges and universities continue to move away from these positions and toward adjunct and part-time positions. Opportunities are expected to be good for part-time or adjunct professors.

This comes as no surprise to me. Cost is a key factor. On a per class basis, full-time instructors cost colleges more than adjuncts. What the Bureau does not address is the implication for adjuncts is both good and bad, something I will explain later in this article.

College Teaching Jobs by Discipline

This table presents data compiled by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau’s college teaching jobs data is organized alphabetically, but I have taken the liberty of reorganizing it by number of jobs in the given disciplines.

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Adjunct Impact on the Quality of Instruction

This is a highly controversial subject. Most tenured faculty members oppose the shift from full-time to part-time instructors on the basis that the overall quality of instruction is compromised. However, colleges’ greatest instructional expenses are instructor salaries and benefits. This is the driver that will continue to swing the pendulum toward more and more adjuncts.

In my experience, there are good and bad full-time instructors as well as and part-time instructors. And also from my experience, there is a greater percentage of good full-time college instructors than good adjunct instructors. So, is the overall quality of college instruction on the decline? I prefer to think not, but that concern only makes good college adjuncts a more valued commodity for college teaching jobs.

Advice for Adjuncts Seeking Teaching Jobs

I offer the following advice for adjuncts seeking college teaching jobs:

  1. Continuously work to improve your teaching skills.
  2. Take full advantage of support offered by the college where you teach.

Advice for Colleges Hiring Adjuncts

I do not know how many college administrators follow this website, but for those who do I suggest:

  1. Continuously invest in your adjuncts by providing new and improved support systems.
  2. Involve your experienced full-time faculty in training and mentoring adjuncts.

This must not be a one-time training program. It needs to be part of an ongoing continuous quality improvement initiative. Some full-time faculty members may be reticent to help adjuncts, but consider one of my own research findings. Most college instructors will support continuous quality improvement activities if they see what is in it for them.

Reference:

Hummel, P. (2005). An explanation of continuous quality improvement practices by college faculty. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3185438)

 

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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