What motivated you to be an adjunct professor? Is teaching part-time a good or bad thing? How can I become an adjunct faculty? Are the questions often asked when I inform people I am an interior design adjunct faculty? I have always enjoyed the energy in the collegial and academic environment. My continuous lust for knowledge was an indicator I would eventually be teaching interior design courses. Maintaining a connection with higher education was a driver for being an adjunct professor. It allows me to remain up-to-date with innovations, news, and new knowledge within the interior design and architecture industry. I genuinely enjoy witnessing students’ ah-ah moments when something clicks and their enthusiasm towards learning. I enjoy receiving emails from former students, informing me they are using what they have learned in other courses, in personal and professional areas. Like everything, the role of an adjunct professor does have some challenges, but all the opportunities outweigh them. So, I decided to write this post to encourage others and to provide some insights on how to become an adjunct professor.
An adjunct professor is a supplemental instructor at an educational institution on a contractual term-by-term, part-time basis, and is ineligible for tenure. Adjuncts are exempt from administrative responsibilities such as attending faculty meetings, from conducting and publishing research. Usually, the pay is less, often hourly, with limited benefits compared to a full-time professor. However, there are perks of being an adjunct professor, such as student/faculty discounts for events and products, professional association fees, and subscription services. Due to the contractual nature of this role, it allows for a supplemental income versus monetary stability, why most of us do it for the love of teaching.
The education required to teach higher-education courses is a master’s degree. Some community colleges and technical schools may only require a bachelor’s degree with relevant experience within their industry. The professional expertise within an industry is an advantage for adjunct faculty. As a professional in the design and construction field, I often share with my students my on the job experience that most books do not mention. Furthermore, I invite co-workers or professionals within the industry to serve as crits during mid-terms and finals to capture additional professional feedback and create networking opportunities for the students.
Many educational institutions are supplementing their faculty staff with adjunct faculty, which creates a lot of job opportunities. To identify job opportunities within your vicinity, start by identifying colleges offering degrees within your field of work. For additional information, browse the departmental pages to read more about their curriculum, faculty, students’ portfolio, and head of departments. If you like what you see and interested in teaching there, check their job openings. If there are openings, apply and submit the required documents such as graduate school transcripts, a cover letter, and a resume. Follow up with a statement of interest and attached document in an email to the head of the department. Even when there are no listed openings, still send a statement of interest because available adjunct faculty positions are sporadic due to flexible contract terms.
If you are interested in teaching as an adjunct professor, I hope this post is a source of information on how to start your teaching journey. One must genuinely enjoy teaching because it consumes both time and energy. However, it is full of surprises because each group of students is unique and will be memorable – never a dull moment in interior design studios. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment box below.