Proving value-add for adjuncts

Two posts back I asked a very important question:

What can be done to prove that an adjunct will be an asset rather than a liability?

Now, I am speaking as an adjunct, not as a full-timer who has been an adjunct.  But there are some ideas that have been told to me (by hiring committees) that I think are reliable.

Get involved on campus.

Do some of the things that full-timers do, even if you are doing it for free. But only some. Don’t go overboard.  They aren’t paying you.  So pick something you really will enjoy and do that.

I don’t think this will necessarily get you a full-time position where you adjunct.  But it shows other schools that you are a team player.

Apply to conferences.

You won’t get these if you don’t ask. In the last seven months I have gotten ten conference presentations accepted. Only one of those acceptances is at a national conference, but I am working on those. I’ve been turned down for five (two national), I think.

You definitely have to get out there. It’s work. I’m thinking of it as part of my job. It helps that I like to write and I like to tell people what I know.

I have a twenty-page document titled “CFPs I could do.” It’s where I put calls for papers when I see them and then I go through and look at them. I prioritize based on

  1. importance of conference
  2. ease of presentation

If the conference is a large one, I apply.  Period.  If it is an easy one, I apply.  The caveat there is I don’t want to be gone from school more than three days in a semester.  So this semester I have five conferences, but one is online and one is only on a Saturday.

I am scouting voraciously for conferences in the summer, when I am not working.

Apply for publications.

I have three publications in the same seven-month time period. Two are forthcoming, but one is already out. And I have a fourth accepted; now I have to write it. I have also applied to write two more.

I have a forty-page document on my computer titled “CFPs Journals.” They are only those I can do and they are listed in order of date and/or my preferences for working on them.

I have spent a great deal of thought deciding which ones I am most likely to be accepted for and which ones are most important to the career trajectory I am shooting for.

The caveat there is that most of my writing is on literature.  All three of the publications to date are literature.  The one acceptance is actually in history (which is a sub-field of interest).  The two I have applied to write are those that are books.  I think having a chapter in a book is a plus.  I have also applied to write an entire book.

Writing books:  I decided not to apply to write a book where the publisher wanted me to do market research.  I didn’t have enough time or interest in the topic to do that.  I did send a query, so if they are desperate they will contact me again.

I did apply for  a book that will be a lot of work.  I am not afraid of work.  But it is work that I am personally interested in anyway.  So that will help a lot.  It’s also (sort of) in my literature field. [My literature field is Old and Middle English.  However, that works out to Brit Lit to 1750.  This is within this.]

Apply for jobs.

It is very frustrating to apply over and over and not be hired.  But the only way to get hired is to apply.

I just applied for a job at a school I applied to last year.  Last year I had an interview.  I still want to work there, so I applied again.  I tweaked my cover letter, redid my cv and my philosophy of education, and went back over problems and positives with the interview.  They are hiring for the kind of work I already do.  I have good student evaluations.  I work hard.  So, hopefully, they will look at me again and this time I can convince them to hire me.

But even if they don’t, at least I have tried.

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