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Author Topic: Adjuncting opportunities in English/writing in Orange County/Los Angeles area  (Read 11433 times)
jung_american
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« on: April 05, 2012, 7:44:40 PM »

Hello to All,

My spouse and I are considering a move this summer to the Orange Country area. We currently live in a medium-sized city with one community college, where my partner has been adjuncting with 3 classes per semester of writing classes.

I'm wondering, does anyone have any first or second-hand knowledge of the level of competition for adjuncting jobs in English/writing in the Orange County/Los Angeles area? Is it relatively easy to pick up a writing class or two at the average community college or is the market saturated in this area?

Thank you for any info you might have.
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alleyoxenfree
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 10:49:24 PM »

Where are you planning to live?

An equally big consideration will be traffic.  If you're flexible on where to live, apply everywhere and then plan to live nearby.  Irvine Valley is hours away from Glendale Community College.  If you study the CA system map, you might be able to find an area where there are several colleges within commuting distance.  Don't discount private colleges or CSUs, all of which often use adjuncts.  Usually, the "pool" application is on their website.
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jung_american
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2012, 11:48:59 AM »

It's somewhat of a complex situation, suffice to say that we would be living temporarily near Riverside County with a goal to moving more toward the southern/western part of Orange County (Anaheim, Tustin, Long Beach, Fullerton, etc.).

We're willing to commute, which we know will be a necessity. We're both familiar with the area and have both lived in Southern California before so we know what to expect in terms of that.

I'm really just trying to get a sense for how difficult (or not) it might be for someone with previous adjuncting experience (especially in English/writing) to pick up classes in the area. Will we be able to jump into something immediately, or will we have to peck away for a while?

Where are you planning to live?

An equally big consideration will be traffic.  If you're flexible on where to live, apply everywhere and then plan to live nearby.  Irvine Valley is hours away from Glendale Community College.  If you study the CA system map, you might be able to find an area where there are several colleges within commuting distance.  Don't discount private colleges or CSUs, all of which often use adjuncts.  Usually, the "pool" application is on their website.

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academic_cog
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 7:00:25 PM »

Get in line, or know somebody who knows somebody, was my experience. The last time I was in California, which was a couple years ago now, ccs were swamped with lists of adjuncts and they tended to go with those they already had worked with unless you knew or were from the same program as somebody who was already adjuncting there. Unemployment is pretty high there (or was bad when I left) and the UCs have really slashed stipends for their grad programs (as well as locked down on time-to degree).
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alleyoxenfree
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 11:28:24 PM »

True enough, yet I've received offers knowing no one and know others who have.  UCLA was very recently advertising for adjuncts in multiple fields.  I'd start with UC Riverside and surrounding CCs, then branch out in each direction.  The UCs might be less likely to have openings, yet UCSB and UCR are some of the newest and have the least flush pools, and it all depends on your subject area too, specialities,.....you know, 50 things you can't know.  You might be looking for detailed knowledge that just can't be determined by anyone except the chairs there.  I suggest you put in an application and then send polite emails asking what they think their hiring situation might be.  Most will probably say, "Your guess is as good as ours."
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oldadjunct
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 2:51:09 AM »

It's somewhat of a complex situation, suffice to say that we would be living temporarily near Riverside County with a goal to moving more toward the southern/western part of Orange County (Anaheim, Tustin, Long Beach, Fullerton, etc.).

We're willing to commute, which we know will be a necessity. We're both familiar with the area and have both lived in Southern California before so we know what to expect in terms of that.

I'm really just trying to get a sense for how difficult (or not) it might be for someone with previous adjuncting experience (especially in English/writing) to pick up classes in the area. Will we be able to jump into something immediately, or will we have to peck away for a while?

Where are you planning to live?

An equally big consideration will be traffic.  If you're flexible on where to live, apply everywhere and then plan to live nearby.  Irvine Valley is hours away from Glendale Community College.  If you study the CA system map, you might be able to find an area where there are several colleges within commuting distance.  Don't discount private colleges or CSUs, all of which often use adjuncts.  Usually, the "pool" application is on their website.


What does it mean to live near an entire county? You say you know the area, I take you at your word, but you are going about this backwards.  In my limited experience of LA/Riverside/Orange County, that's a rather large area with significant commuting challenges. Hell, LA alone is a big place.  Live where you want to live (and can afford on 1-2 classes/semester) first, and then identify schools within no more than a 30 min commute from that single place.  You only think that you are willing to make huge commitments of commuting time and money to take part-time work.  That's just silly.  Find a place you want to live first, if you don't find a part-time job within an easy commute, consider being a barrista near Dana Point while writing screen plays.

Why are you even doing this? Moving to an expensive area and wondering if part-time academic work is available seems like doing the same and asking if Starbucks is hiring in SOCAL Are you in semi-retirement with a nest egg, like me?  My guess is that there will be hundreds of applicants for every adjunct English gig in an area flush with universities and starving English grads until the last minute when department heads snatch up every remaining heart still beating on the Friday before the Monday start of semester. We are a hungry dime a dozen, you know.

Do you have something special to offer, other than your "passion for teaching" and "experience teaching Comp 101"?  Possibly more than, "When I teach evidence I invoke the kinetic learning experience by having groups move around the room to match claims with evidence!!!"  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Alternately, target a specific set of schools and quage their interest though direct contact. And move near them and cross your fingers, but I still consider that backwards.  After all, you find a job to support your lifestyle, not the other way around.  Particularly when the job is as a contingent laborer in an over crowded field.  It ain't a career worth sacrificing for. 
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Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
jung_american
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 11:59:32 AM »

Oldadjunct - and All,

Sorry for the vagueness; I'm mainly trying to avoid self-identifying information. As I said, my situation is somewhat unique/complex; it really would be difficult to explain the situation without giving a ton of detail. I wonder how often anyone from the forums really ends up recognizing someone anyway?

I suppose it would help to say that we're currently living in a city with relatively low cost of living. We have the option of staying here, but I have an enticing offer in the Orange County area. My spouse has been adjuncting here, so my question is really more about that. S/he doesn't want to adjunct forever, but I'm trying to get a sense for how difficult it is to get one's feet wet in the adjunct pool out there so I can get a sense for how jarring our transition might be. We won't be making a lot in Orange County money, that's for sure, but alas, we continue to follow opportunities.

You've all been very helpful, so thanks for your responses. It sounds like---based on the couple of people who have direct experience---it can be a bit hit or miss, but there are things out there. I'll keep researching and see what I come up with. Thanks again.
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prytania3
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 6:14:24 PM »

How are you going to afford the OC by adjuncting?
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jung_american
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 10:12:52 PM »

Well I wouldn't be adjuncting, only my spouse---and hopefully only temporarily when we first move. I would have a steadier and more substantial income. We'd also be staying with family for a few months or possibly the first academic year, so that would help us save up some money. We've been on a tight budget for a few years now, so we're pretty used to it.

How are you going to afford the OC by adjuncting?
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oldadjunct
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LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 10:45:36 PM »

Oldadjunct - and All,

Sorry for the vagueness; I'm mainly trying to avoid self-identifying information. As I said, my situation is somewhat unique/complex; it really would be difficult to explain the situation without giving a ton of detail. I wonder how often anyone from the forums really ends up recognizing someone anyway?

In all good faith and support, this "self-identifying" thing cracks me up (and you are not alone in the silly paranoia which litters the flora with "hu" this and that), nobody here cares about your professional identity.  Here you are two adjuncts, at least one of whom is in a HUGE and largely unimportant field dominated by adjuncts toiling in the fields (likely your departments don't know who you are, and if they do will forget you within a week of your departure), one of you may or may not have a rather low/entry level opportunity the appointment to which is yet to be announced and is unlikely to make the news in the campus paper. And if your appointment made national headlines we will not go, "Ohhhh THAT guy from CHE?" Even if we did that, and we won't, you have an innocent question long since forgotten, not a complicated issue.

What exactly is the risk in asking something like "I have a job opportunity in [Riverside/LA/Irvine/Compton....] or even USC.  My spouse is wondering if he [or "she"] will have adjunct opportunities similar to those he has in Indianapolis?"  Who do you figure will run off to find out who the adjunct couple in Indianapolis moving to USC is?  You are moving from one specific place to another, unless either is a town of six, we won't know who you are even if we cared (we don't). You  have an exceedingly ordinary yet important question.
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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
jung_american
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Posts: 11


« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 4:47:14 PM »

Oldadjunct,

Ultimately, you're right, and I recognize how unfounded this paranoia is. I'm actually not an adjunct myself. My issue is that I would be moving from one doctoral program to another (for complex reasons) and am not fully sold on whether or not the move would be in our best interest.

Part of what's influencing my decision is whether or not my spouse will be able to land some classes relatively easily, so that she (there, I said it!) doesn't have to deal with the stress of not being able to find work. She'll be looking for something more stable in the long(er) term, but it would be comforting to know that she isn't going to have to go through the stress of complete joblessness for an indeterminate amount of time.

Obviously there will always be uncertainty, especially with adjuncting, but ultimately my goal was just to get some sense of how competitive the adjunct market is in English/composition around OC. Generally speaking, the move is much more for my direct benefit ("better" doctoral program in terms of ranking, job placement, access to profs in my field, etc.) so I want to make sure that it won't be all downside for her.

As I said, you've all been really helpful so far and I do think I have a better sense of the opportunities available in the area. Still not sure what we're going to do, but I feel more informed, which is all I was looking for. Thanks again.

Oldadjunct - and All,

Sorry for the vagueness; I'm mainly trying to avoid self-identifying information. As I said, my situation is somewhat unique/complex; it really would be difficult to explain the situation without giving a ton of detail. I wonder how often anyone from the forums really ends up recognizing someone anyway?

In all good faith and support, this "self-identifying" thing cracks me up (and you are not alone in the silly paranoia which litters the flora with "hu" this and that), nobody here cares about your professional identity.  Here you are two adjuncts, at least one of whom is in a HUGE and largely unimportant field dominated by adjuncts toiling in the fields (likely your departments don't know who you are, and if they do will forget you within a week of your departure), one of you may or may not have a rather low/entry level opportunity the appointment to which is yet to be announced and is unlikely to make the news in the campus paper. And if your appointment made national headlines we will not go, "Ohhhh THAT guy from CHE?" Even if we did that, and we won't, you have an innocent question long since forgotten, not a complicated issue.

What exactly is the risk in asking something like "I have a job opportunity in [Riverside/LA/Irvine/Compton....] or even USC.  My spouse is wondering if he [or "she"] will have adjunct opportunities similar to those he has in Indianapolis?"  Who do you figure will run off to find out who the adjunct couple in Indianapolis moving to USC is?  You are moving from one specific place to another, unless either is a town of six, we won't know who you are even if we cared (we don't). You  have an exceedingly ordinary yet important question.
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oldadjunct
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LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 1:57:38 AM »

Oldadjunct,

Ultimately, you're right, and I recognize how unfounded this paranoia is. I'm actually not an adjunct myself. My issue is that I would be moving from one doctoral program to another (for complex reasons) and am not fully sold on whether or not the move would be in our best interest.

Part of what's influencing my decision is whether or not my spouse will be able to land some classes relatively easily, so that she (there, I said it!) doesn't have to deal with the stress of not being able to find work. She'll be looking for something more stable in the long(er) term, but it would be comforting to know that she isn't going to have to go through the stress of complete joblessness for an indeterminate amount of time.

Obviously there will always be uncertainty, especially with adjuncting, but ultimately my goal was just to get some sense of how competitive the adjunct market is in English/composition around OC. Generally speaking, the move is much more for my direct benefit ("better" doctoral program in terms of ranking, job placement, access to profs in my field, etc.) so I want to make sure that it won't be all downside for her.

As I said, you've all been really helpful so far and I do think I have a better sense of the opportunities available in the area. Still not sure what we're going to do, but I feel more informed, which is all I was looking for. Thanks again.

Oldadjunct - and All,

Sorry for the vagueness; I'm mainly trying to avoid self-identifying information. As I said, my situation is somewhat unique/complex; it really would be difficult to explain the situation without giving a ton of detail. I wonder how often anyone from the forums really ends up recognizing someone anyway?

In all good faith and support, this "self-identifying" thing cracks me up (and you are not alone in the silly paranoia which litters the flora with "hu" this and that), nobody here cares about your professional identity.  Here you are two adjuncts, at least one of whom is in a HUGE and largely unimportant field dominated by adjuncts toiling in the fields (likely your departments don't know who you are, and if they do will forget you within a week of your departure), one of you may or may not have a rather low/entry level opportunity the appointment to which is yet to be announced and is unlikely to make the news in the campus paper. And if your appointment made national headlines we will not go, "Ohhhh THAT guy from CHE?" Even if we did that, and we won't, you have an innocent question long since forgotten, not a complicated issue.

What exactly is the risk in asking something like "I have a job opportunity in [Riverside/LA/Irvine/Compton....] or even USC.  My spouse is wondering if he [or "she"] will have adjunct opportunities similar to those he has in Indianapolis?"  Who do you figure will run off to find out who the adjunct couple in Indianapolis moving to USC is?  You are moving from one specific place to another, unless either is a town of six, we won't know who you are even if we cared (we don't). You  have an exceedingly ordinary yet important question.

I sympathize with your situation and concerns.  I was once on the very bad end as a trailing spouse when we were both grad students as we moved, in our naivete, to a place that was the only university/college within hundreds of miles. Actually, I just misstated the situation. Let's just say Pullman, Wa is not the best place to land when only one spouse has a university affiliation.

SOCAL is a very different story.  Your spouse would do well to identify the likely many places near to your preferred  place (settle on one that is mostly likely to provide reasonable accommodations to both of you, and focus on that)  and send out introductory letters to various Chairs, perhaps you could ask your future colleagues/peers for some advice.  Rhet/Comp is a big and constantly churning field at the adjunct level, especially this far out from next semester.  There may be some nail biting in mid-August, but Fall typically carries greater, sudden needs as former adjuncts depart and new sections open.

Every big move carries risks.  I wish you and your spouse well.
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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
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