From Adjunct to FT Professor

One of my dear friends has been officially hired full-time by the community college for which she has been adjuncting for the last four years.

It can happen!

–Note: I adjuncted there for 8 years and was never hired full-time, though after publications were added to my CV, I did get hired by a different cc full-time.

Adjuncts’ Information

One thing I have learned as I have moved from college to college (most frequently as an adjunct but also as a full-time instructor and now on the tenure track) is that policies regarding email are different at different schools and that they can change.

As an adjunct, you need a professional sounding email address that you control, keep up with, and use regularly for your scholarship and job applications.

I found out that a chapter was being published with Routledge due to the fact that the university I worked with had kept my email available to me (not something they mentioned) and I happened to check that email for the first time in a year within a few weeks of an acceptance. Had I not had access to the email or had I not checked it, I would not have had that chapter published–since it was a new publisher and I had to do some relatively minor R&R and sign the permissions.

I found out that an article I had submitted five years earlier was accepted because by the time I submitted for that CFP I realized that I needed a standard email address and it came to my regular/personal email earlier this month.

One of the colleges where I taught full time closed my email down as soon as the semester ended. They did not warn me and all my email access disappeared–including my cyber copies of work I had done. (With the cloud that becomes less of an issue, but it still could be an issue.)

Get an email address and use it consistently for CFPs and job applications. Make sure that it is professional sounding and that you are the person who controls it. It could make a big difference.

5 Years Later

I am fairly sure I mentioned this already, but I finally sent the permissions letter off.

Five years ago I submitted four articles for publication to a CFP. This month I received an email that says the work has been accepted and is going to be published.

The irony is that the article is about a digital publication that was accepted and published within a month, due to the vagaries of submission and the fact that I was very dedicated to work being published, so that I did the R&R over the weekend (and added many relevant links, as they said they were looking for) and they had an article pulled.

Short or long, the publishing road is just that–a road.


Five years after it was submitted, an anecdote about publishing for profit and promotion sent in response to a CFP, is now in the process of publication.

When I first got the email, I went through my Publications folder trying to figure out which work they were talking about.

I re-read the email just now and realized that they gave me the CFP. Looking at it I found four anecdotes I had written for submission. I don’t know which one was accepted, but I am THRILLED to know it will be published.

Realities of Adjuncting

In Houston, TX I taught as many as 6 composition courses per semester. Usually the pay was right around $1,500 per course, though one school paid $2,500. You can’t have a middle class lifestyle on that amount of money unless you have a spouse who makes a good wage. (I did.)

The $1,500/course included courses that the adjuncts had to create from scratch.

In fact, there was no differentiation between courses that used only scantron grading and courses where students wrote dozens of papers that needed to be read, commented on, and returned.

I was talking to a friend who has now been an adjunct for three (maybe four) years. She said, “I realize I will probably never get a full-time position. I look at all these young graduate students and I want to tell them, ‘No! Stop. Don’t do it.'” She is smart, highly regarded as a teacher, and dedicated.

But she may be right. She may not ever get a full-time position. Most adjuncts don’t.

CFP: For Adjuncts!

“Remix is_________” Miami University ‘s English Graduate and Adjunct Association Symposium March 14, 2014
full name / name of organization:
Rachel Oriol/ Miami University of Ohio
contact email:
The 11th Annual Miami University
Miami English Graduate and Adjunct Association (MEGAA) Symposium

Friday, March 14, 2014, Oxford, Ohio

Remix is ___________

As the world grows more connected through digital communication, globalized economies, and interdependent political structures, our work as scholars increasingly turns to questions of intertextuality and hybridity – in a word, the remix. While remix is often thought of as a digital phenomenon, when conceived more broadly, remix has the power to complicate traditional theoretical frameworks, generic definitions, disciplinary boundaries, and modes of intellectual and cultural production. This conference encourages interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary presentations that expand, interrogate, and/or disrupt our understanding of remix, the cultural work it performs, and its relationship to intertextuality and hybridity. We especially encourage conceptions of remix that move beyond remix as an object and consider how it functions as a theoretical heuristic.

We invite you to critique, analyze, and/or create remixes that challenge and expand these ideas. Just fill in the blank: Remix is____________

Possible Lines of Inquiry Include, But are Not Limited To:
* How does remix exceed our politico-legal framework of ownership, copyright, or fair use?
* How does intertextuality challenge traditional ideas of authorship, authenticity, and
* Can remix in the classroom create more innovative and collaborative spaces?
* Can the remix offer unique ways of communicating across boundaries of race, class,
nationality, gender, etc?
* What is the relationship of remix to power? When does it reinscribe or disrupt conventional
power differentials?
* Can remix offer new models for articulating consumption, fandom, and subjectivity?
* How are theories of remix applicable to the body? To embodiment?
* How is remix performed and performance remixed? On stage? Brechting the fourth wall?
* How is remix used in scientific and technological innovations?
* How does the Internet and emergent media change how we share, interact with, and
reproduce information?
* Where can we locate hybridity in and after globalization? How are space and culture
remapped here?
* How do remix and hybridity go beyond the cultural or textual to include the material?

Featured Speakers
Jason Palmeri, Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition at Miami University, will present a talk titled, “Remixing Queer Temporality: Affective Rhetorics and Pedagogies of Disidentification in the “It Gets Better Project.” Palmeri analyzes how queer activists responded to and remixed the “It Gets Better Project”—an online video archive initiated by Dan Savage to combat the high rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth. By analyzing and performing video remixes of the “It Gets Better Project,” Palmeri elucidates rhetorical and pedagogical strategies that queer activists and teachers can employ to resist normative constructions of identity in online video narratives.

Elisabeth Hodges, an Associate Professor of French and an Affiliate in the Film Studies program at Miami University, will be speaking on her upcoming book project on interiority in French cinema. Additionally she will discuss how her own trajectory as a scholar of Renaissance cities to a scholar of French cinema is a “remix” of her interests.

Submitting Proposals:
Deadline: February 1, 2014, 2014: 11:59 p.m. EST

Download the proposal form at:

Please provide all speaker information and presentation titles on the proposal form. Remove all personal identifiers from the proposal itself. Please limit both individual and panel proposals to 500 words.

Email completed forms to: MEGAA Symposium Committee at
Hard copy submissions are also accepted and can be mailed to:

Department of English
356 Bachelor Hall
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056

Official acceptances will be emailed to participants by February 14, 2014

*If submitting visual artwork or a poster, you must be present with your work and be prepared to give a short introduction and answer questions at the end of the session.

From UPenn

2 Institutional Options for Teaching Differently

First idea:
Summer boot camp for students who are at risk.

My thoughts:
This would require institutional investment, so it is a bit beyond my teaching scope, but I would enjoy being a faculty mentor for first-generation students. (We do have these and have them identified at my college. I will look into this and see if there is a mentoring program for these folk.)

I am not sure how much I would like doing this for developmental writers, though, which is the original idea from the book I was reading. Six weeks to do what we now have two semesters to teach? That would be difficult.

I do have some ideas, gleaned from other professors, which I have taken advantage of in my general classes which were actually originally aimed at at-risk students. It would be good to be able to use these for the students they were originally designed for.

Second idea:
Remote adjunct.

This is also an institutional investment.

It is also an idea that my university is considering (not necessarily strongly).

As a former adjunct myself, I like the idea in some ways and dislike it intensely in others. It would definitely be better than flying the highway. However, it would not be as good as a hybrid or face-to-face course. Neither would it be as good an idea as paying a living wage to those instructors who are teaching for the university.

Fast and Furious: De-humanizing…

I’ve been reading Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette for several years now. She’s become famous enough to warrant an Inside Higher Ed blog and it’s there that she wrote about the dehumanization of adjuncts and zombies. (Okay, it was about the dehumanization of adjuncts and how zombies helped re-humanize her life. Maybe.)

I’ve written and presented about how the real power of “the digital” comes from being able to re-assert our humanity through this kind of intimate and informal contact with one another; simply sitting together (even virtually) and not doing much is a way to find our dignity, our humanity, in a system that works hard to dehumanize and decontexualize ourselves at every opportunity.

They also talked about people searching for dignity through their peers, and how this validation has turned us all into workaholics.

And there we have it… The real issue that I relate to these days. The workaholic, who is too afraid to not do too much because I realize my job is not very much more secure than it was on the non-tenure track, even though I’ve gotten publications and presentations.

I’m not dissing the problems of being an adjunct. I’ve been there.

Is the Life of the Mind a Life that Can Be Lived?

Yesterday’s blog post referred to a small snippet of Minding the Campus’ Adjuncts and the Devalued PhD.

Today’s will as well.

The telling part, the significant kernel for those teaching graduate students or those who are considering teaching college English as a career is found here:

Back in 2003, Thomas H. Benton—the penname of William Pannapacker, then an assistant professor of English at Hope College—published the first of series of articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education (others following in 2009 and 2010) warning would-be graduate students of the pitfalls of pursuing a career in higher ed. “It pains me,” he wrote, “to tell some of my best students that the structure of employment in the academy has been hidden from them—that many faculty members make less than fast-food workers and have no health benefits.”

To smart, hardworking students, those motivated by genuine intellectual curiosity and used to being at the top of their classes, Benton’s message seemed to be, “Becoming a professor isn’t easy, but it is possible if you are the right kind of person. If you have what it takes and do everything right along the way, you have a chance.” That may not have been what Benton meant, but to headstrong students unafraid of competition, the obstacles to becoming a professor seemed merely the next and toughest set of challenges to be met and overcome.

Yes, some people make it.

I made it.

But it took me two years of working full-time as an adjunct (and more than full-time), spending more than I made attending conferences, writing fourteen articles, four reviews, and a book, to succeed. It took that much, and more, to win out over the 250 people also applying for my position last year.

249 people, many of them PhDs, wanted to teach at a community college and could not get a job because there were not enough positions available.

Adjuncts Teaching All the Classes

If you are a college student today enrolled in four classes during any given semester, it is likely that only one of your teachers is employed by your school in a permanent position that comes with a middle-class salary, job security, and benefits. The other three are contingent faculty, often called “adjuncts”; they have job titles like “instructor” or “lecturer” rather than “professor” but their roles in the classroom are the same. According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), adjuncts at U.S. colleges and universities now comprise “more than 75 percent of the total instructional staff.”

So says Minding the Campus in Adjuncts and the Devalued PhD.

At my SLAC this would not be true. There are three adjuncts and fifteen full-time folks in the English department. Most departments are similarly constructed, though many have fewer full-time faculty.

I don’t even think this would have been true at the community college I was privileged to teach at last year either.

But if you are going to a big state university, most of the undergraduates get taught by adjuncts and grad students. I’d say almost 100% for freshman and sophomores at least. So that’s where the 3 out of 4 comes from.