Adjuncting in grad school & the job market
Adjuncting in grad school & the job market




In our December “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

I’m on the market for the first time. I have a good bit of teaching experience, but more and more I’m adjuncting at local colleges and not where I’m earning my PhD. Two questions. (1) How should one list adjuncting positions? I have a ‘Teaching Experience’ section of my cv that lists the courses and institutions I’ve taught at. But would it be good to also list ‘adjunct instructor’ under an ‘Employment’ section? My worry with this is that it’ll just look cheesy or forced. (2) Will having adjuncted at a handful of schools hurt my prospects for a permanent position? My thought is that some search committees might look at my cv and think, ‘Oh, nice PhD, nice publications, but this is just some professional adjunct.’

Fair questions, and I’m not entirely sure what the answers are for the job market as a whole. But I will say this: having worked and hired many times at a teaching-focused institution, I think the OP’s experience adjuncting while in grad school will only help them (and may even help them significantly) when applying for positions at schools like mine.

In my experience, one of the biggest problems that new job candidates who are ABD or just out of grad school can have for jobs like these is simply not having enough solo teaching experience (particularly experience teaching multiple classes at the same time, which is much more difficult than just teaching one, as one typically does in grad school). The OP’s experience adjuncting is likely to not only demonstrate greater experience in teaching, but also suggest to hiring committees that they value teaching (as they have chosen to pursue teaching opportunities rather than focus solely or primarily on research). Both of these things are likely to look good to hiring committees at teaching-focused institutions. So, if I were the OP and applying to jobs at SLACs or community colleges, I would by all means list their adjunct work under Employment, but list Employment beneath Education–as that will highlight the fact that they are still in grad school and adjuncting at the same time (which, again, I think is likely to look great for teaching-focused jobs).

What the OP should do for jobs at research institutions, on the other hand, is not as obvious to me. Should they list their adjunct work under ‘Employment’, or simply indicate it in the teaching experience section of the CV? I tend to think that CVs should be as perspicuous as possible (and that since adjunct work is employment, it should be listed as such), but then again, maybe that would “send the wrong message” to hiring committees at research institutions? I have no idea (maybe teaching experience will look good to them too!).

Anyway, these are just my thoughts. Anyone else with suitable experience with these matters (particularly those who have served on search committees) care to weigh in?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More