While we are busy storing away holiday decorations and moving kids toys from the living room to their bedrooms (step on a lego this year, anyone? Ouch!), in the back of our minds we are often thinking, “what do we want to do this year that we didn’t last?” I have a personal dislike for the term “New Years Resolution”, because resolutions seem to be more like to-do lists for the first week of January! :) But for many of us, we have a more serious need to secure work and earn additional income in 2014, due to the feeling of instability in the industry we work in and a decrease in workload at some universities.
Some schools are now emerging with new rules for the new year. One I am hearing about more frequently is the 18 unit per year cap for adjuncts, with schools citing Obamacare concerns. Others do not want to fight state “recommendations” that would require schools to make part time contractors into full time employees. Some for-profit schools are also seeing less students and less enrollment, translating to less work for us.
In 2014, if one of your “resolutions” is to get additional work, just where exactly are the jobs? Here is where I am seeing growth:
- MOOCs. Our newsletter last month was on this topic – what exactly are they? I encourage you to read the archives.
- State schools that are growing their online classes. In many cases, schools first look to existing faculty to teach these courses and often, they simply want to stick to their existing on-ground schedule. This is creating a flurry of growth for adjuncts at state schools with very good pay. Check out state school web sites, or join our job leads system. We try to find these positions and send them out as we locate them. Many state schools use companies like Embanet to manage their instructors, so be sure to check out these web sites too.
- Small private colleges are growing at a much faster rate than many of their for-profit online-only counterparts. Often these small colleges have not had an online element before, and are just creating one. This means they need instructors and course developers. Most of the time they market first to existing students who want more flexibility (or hybrid courses), and are finding there is money to be made in expanding to non-traditional students that are not in their local area.
- Faith-based institutions are growing in many areas. We are seeing more leads from colleges like Benedictine to Liberty. Most will require a statement of faith and that you agree to their beliefs on ways you will live your life as a testament to their message, and require a pastoral reference. If you attend church, look for schools that represent your faith and apply online.
We are all going to need to get a bit more creative and aggressive applying. I have a pool of dean’s that I go to regularly to get a “pulse” on the industry. What I hear from them is their instructor pool has grown tremendously (more qualified applicants) while their class sizes are going up (less faculty needed) and student count decreases (again, less faculty needed). This means we need to be more competitive than ever in how often we apply and the way we apply. I always recommend that you:
- Review your CV regularly – update it – and put it into a format that both HR systems will pick up using automated tools and dean’s will find appealing. My research has shown that a teaching philosophy statement at the top followed by your attributes and then teaching experience works best. We have many CV options available for you if you would like a template or would like me to create your CV.
- Put together a custom cover letter, specifically targeting the school and program you want to work for. Dean’s can tell if you are using a “canned” cover letter. Take an extra 20 minutes and customize it for the position.
- If you are applying via email, include unofficial transcripts even if you aren’t asked to. With so many scams today, this helps assure the hiring manager you are legit.
- Remember many of us have been hired with a Masters degree when the official requirement was a Doctorate. This is common – if you want the job, apply anyway. In your cover letter, address why you are the right person for the position, despite not having the degree they prefer. Your chances are less than someone with the degree they are seeking, but they aren’t zero – and that makes it worth it if you really want to work there.
- Make contacts. Use our Yahoo and Facebook forums and get to know others.
Most of all try to stay positive. Right now we are seeing on average 6 responses from schools requesting more documentation for every 100 applications if the applicant has a doctorate, and 2.2 responses for every 100 applications without a doctorate. It’s a numbers game – apply apply apply!
Happy New Year!