February 20, 2013, 3:07 pm
September 18, 2012, 1:29 pm
Eliana Osborn recently posted about the “dreaded start-up meeting” for faculty, often attended by adjuncts and full-timers alike. She noted that she’d like to see “a session just for us,” just for adjuncts.
At my college, we do offer a start-up session just for adjuncts. And, in my role as a student-services administrator, I’ll be addressing the group very soon. I, of course, have my own agenda, based on my areas of responsibility. But I’m curious: What do adjuncts really need to know, especially from the student-affairs side of the house, as they begin their school year?
What do you wish you had known when you started teaching at a new college? Is there someone who eased the way for you, or helped you with a particularly troublesome issue? How did you find that person? What is the best way administrators and professional staff can provide you with the information, resources, and…
September 11, 2012, 1:30 pm
Earlier this summer Rob Jenkins asked “What Is a Blog Post?” He suggested that, “More than anything else, a blog post is intended to be a conversation starter.”
I like that notion, but I think we’ve all seen the focus on generating hits and comments lead to a race to the rhetorical bottom, with posts and comments becoming ever more outrageous. Of course, generating hits is not the same thing as having a conversation, but the distinction is often lost on less-thoughtful bloggers than Rob.
Additionally, perhaps blogs can serve other purposes. Over my years of maintaining a personal blog, and now a year of writing here, I have had scores of people tell me personally that they are regular readers and look forward to my posts. Most of those people have never publicly commented on them. If they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t even know that they were reading.
For another answer to Rob’s…
June 11, 2012, 11:00 am
To some, governmental programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, and Temporary Aid for Needy Families are little more than abstractions. If we work in higher education, however, such programs affect our students and our colleges.
Take these examples of community-college students. In one case, a student exhibiting signs of paranoia was terror-stricken about the prospect of returning to her home. Counseling staff later learned that she was supposed to be participating in an inpatient-treatment program. The physician of another student with chronic physical and mental illnesses directed him to stop taking his mental-health medications, apparently without consulting his psychiatrist. In both cases, staff arranged for the students to be transported to the hospital via ambulance, due to the severity of the students’ symptoms.
Our urban campus has had an upswing in these types of…
April 13, 2012, 1:03 pm
You know that announcement on mass transit as the train is about to take off? “Doors closing,” a pleasant voice warns. I am always struck by the irrational fear that if I don’t move, and quickly, I’m going to get caught in those doors.
But there’s nothing pleasant about Gary Rhoades’s warning in the new report, Closing the Door, Increasing the Gap: Who’s Not Going to (Community) College? (available as a PDF). As the community-college sector becomes increasingly constrained in achieving its access mission, who is responsible for keeping the door open for underserved students?, he wonders. Rhoades, who directs the Center for the Future of Higher Education, which published the report, calls for faculty, students, community groups, and unions to work together, along with policymakers and college administrators, to advocate on behalf of community colleges.
It’s a great idea, yet I…
March 16, 2012, 11:31 am
Some people lose hours of time on social-media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter. My latest time suck is The Chronicle’s new interactive tool on college completion. First, I examined the graphs and charts for my own community college, then for the research university where I study, and then for any college or university I’ve ever attended, worked at, or driven by.
As I browsed, I was pleased by the inclusion of Sara Lipka’s piece on the many students who “don’t count” because they fall outside the definition tracked by national data-collection systems, which only include first-time, full-time students who begin college in the fall, never transfer, and earn a degree in no more than three years for an associate degree or six for a bachelor’s. A pie chart shows the proportions of these students for each institution, and for whom outcomes are unknown. My explorations turned up…
February 14, 2012, 2:24 pm
Although changes in student financial-aid policies for the federal 2012 fiscal-year budget have been widely reported, one change has gone largely unnoticed: the requirement that new students must have a high-school diploma, GED, or completed home schooling in order to receive federal aid. Currently, students without such a credential must take an “ability-to-benefit” (ATB) test to determine if they are ready for college-level work.
If they pass the ATB test, they are eligible for federal student financial aid, including loans and grants. According to a recent article in The Community College Times, about 1 percent of community-college students, or 100,000, are ATB students. In many states, once those students earn a predetermined number of college credits, they are eligible to receive their GED. Meanwhile, they have earned credit towards a college degree and can continue seamlessly…
December 13, 2011, 2:36 pm
I recently received the November/December issue of the American Federation of Teachers’ publication, On Campus, and opened to the headline: “Community Colleges More Satisfying for Female STEM Faculty.” According to the article, Ohio University researchers found that women make up nearly half of the faculty members at community colleges who teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses (compared with 33 percent who teach such courses at four-year institutions) and that there is greater salary equity between men and women at community colleges.
My first thought was, “Yes! Fantastic! It’s wonderful that women are doing so well at community colleges!” Of course, my next thought was, “Wait a minute. Given that community colleges are at the low end of the prestige scale, and that our faculty are focused more on teaching and service than on scholarship, this study is…
October 27, 2011, 1:46 pm
When I tell people that I have been granted a sabbatical (which I feel obliged to tell you is officially called “leave for professional advancement for the benefit of the College” by my institution), they often appear surprised that I, a non-teaching professional staff member, am eligible for such a thing. Being on sabbatical seems to convey a sense of scholarly import not usually associated — at least by outsiders — with student affairs, or with community colleges.
I’ll let my dissertation committee judge the scholarly importance of my work while I’m on leave. And hopefully my college will find my results beneficial. Meanwhile, I want to get the word out that community colleges often accord the work of student affairs a great deal of respect. I’ve worked at several other institutions, all of them four-year colleges or universities serving more traditional student populations, so I …
July 25, 2011, 10:58 am
Isaac Sweeney and Eliana Osborn have both written about their experiences as an adjunct. I, too, am an adjunct faculty members, but for different reasons from them, so here’s another perspective.
My first professional identity was as a high-school English teacher. I was a naive, 22-year-old from a fairly small, rural town, teaching in a much more heterogeneous community in Cincinnati, Ohio. Perhaps things have changed (although I don’t think so), but the policy at the time was to put the least-experienced teachers with the most educationally disenfranchised and/or seemingly disengaged students. You know, the first-year teachers get the classes that no one else wants to teach.
Thanks in large part to incredible mentors, and the lessons taught intentionally (and unintentionally) by my students, I survived my first year, and went on to thrive at the school. Ultimately, however, I…