Post # 1
For various reasons (including disability, kids) I have worked part-time for several years as an adjunct professor teaching less than a full-time load of classes at the college level. OK pay for hours worked but no benefits. I have considered in the past trying full time work again (outside of academia), and have occasionally looked around. But once a semester started, or was close to starting, I always felt it was not right to back out last minute or quit during the semester. It does make the job search more difficult, though, because I feel I cannot do the standard two-week notice. So I would have to find a job toward the end of a semester or near the beginning or middle of summer. Now it is becoming more important to me to find a job with more pay and benefits, as my husband has the opportunity to retire next year and really should given his own disabilities. I tried hard this summer but didn’t find anything that would be a better position for me. Now the semester has started. I feel obligated to suspend my search for a full-time job until later in the semester because I made a commitment to the college to teach. To the students as well. On the other hand, adjunct positions, without benefits, could be viewed as jobs that exploit the employee, so maybe it is OK for the prof to put her own needs first. Just wondered what people think about this.
Post # 2
I didn’t have to read past the phrase “adjunct professor.” Hell yes it is appropriate to quit at any time if you find something more stable and lucrative. Adjuncts are treated like shit…it’s really horrible the way they are taken advantage of. You gotta be your own advocate here.
Post # 3
I don’t see any reasons why you should have to stay at the college. I would give whoever is above you a little bit of notice but you are not obligated to stay in a position that is no longer a good fit for you. Go for it!
Post # 4
I would keep looking and then once you have an offer in hand decide what is best – if there is only a few weeks left of the semester perhaps your new employer would let you finish out the semester but if it is just starting or mid-way then I would just work with your school to make it work best for everyone. Perhaps you could have a replacement in mind so that you don’t leave your students without an option? However I would not let my part time job dictate my life – if you need to a find a full time option then work towards that regardless.
Post # 5
Don’t suspend your search. But also don’t leave the college until you have an offer in writing that you have accepted, in writing.
You have to do you because the employers will get theirs, as this college obviously is if they’re using a lot of adjuncts.
Post # 6
When it comes to a job, you do you. No company ever really cares about a person as an individual imo, so why should I give them the same consideration. The school will figure it out even if you left mid semester and go on. It will never collapse on account of one person, no matter how important one person may be. So you go right on ahead on look out for your best interest.
Post # 7
I think you should be up front with the company when you’re discussing the new role that due to the nature of your current position, you will likely need to wait until the end of the semester to begin. I don’t know what kind of jobs you’re looking for but if it’s higher up they will likely be understanding. Otherwise I would say do what you need to do to give as much lead time as possible. You can’t limit your search to just the month of dec so do your best.
Post # 8
Is there really a great call for professors in the middle of a semester as it is? I mean, does searching mean you would start asap anyway or is this one of those things where there is likely a lengthy interview process and then you would start the next semester?
I don’t think you should necessarily suspend your search because I would imagine the likelihood of a position starting mid-semester is pretty slim and it’s probably more likely going to be an exhaustive process that you can’t cram in the couple weeks between semesters. But I do think it is rude to make a commitment to students who are paying tuition to receive an education and then have their professor crap out on them mid-semester. What does your employment contract say in regards to your contractual obligation for the semester (or are you allowed to just give a standard two week notice like you were working any other office or retail job)? Does your employer have a plan in place for someone to take over the class if necessary? I guess I would hesitate to commit to a full semester if I knew the likelihood of not finishing out my obligation to it was slim and would find work where I don’t have to commit to a project long-term in order to facilitate my job search for a more permanent position. In other words, not renew for the next semester, find temp gigs to tide me over, and then ramp up the search hard.
(Also not understanding the adjunct hate – I attend a school that uses a lot of adjunct professors because they focus on the community and real-world experience and all of my adjuncts have been great and seemed truly happy with their jobs and I’ve become acquainted with a few outside of academia and know it isn’t an act put on for students. I guess this may not be true at all universities – but it’s not some universal truth that adjuncts are treated like shit. I would imagine if they were treated like shit they would leave since they all have day jobs in the community and do this for personal fulfillment and supplemental income rather than just biding their time hoping for something bigger and better to come along.)
Post # 9
I didn’t vote because the answer really depends on the kind of course, and the contract you signed when accepting the adjunct professorship.
First, while chances are slim that a university would sue you for violating your contractual obligation, the chances are not zero. What does your contract say about mid-semester termination?
Second, are you teaching a course of your own design, and/or a small discussion-oriented seminar? Or are we talking about some cookie-cutter course, the syllabus of which is handed to you by the department? If the former, no, you can’t just walk away. (You could, however, talk to the admins about possibly moving the class so it meets at or after 6PM. This would be a huge pain to do in the middle of the semester, but for future reference, you could certainly request a time slot that, in a pinch, would allow you to keep teaching while also working full time.)
If the latter — that is, if your course is designed by someone else, and especially if it’s a set syllabus that has been used to teach the class for many years — then it would be much easier for you to quit, since it would be possible to find a substitute instructor, perhaps even someone teaching the same course in a different time slot.
Post # 10
If you’re working as an adjunct for “personal fulfillment” in addition to your day job, you’re in a very different boat from many adjuncts who are trying to build a career in academia and work their way up to a tenure-track position. Adjuncts generally dont’ receive health benefits and are paid like shit compared to tenure-track professors, even though they have similar (if not greater) workloads.
I didn’t realize how bad adjuncts had it until I worked as a college textbook salesperson for a year where I met with many of them on a daily basis. They often have massive course loads but zero job security and truly horrible pay and benefits. They do it because they are committed to their discipline and are hoping it will lead to something better, but they are being exploited.
this explains it better than I can: https://www.aaup.org/issues/contingency/background-facts
Post # 11
- Wedding: April 2016 - Manhattan, NY
An adjunct professor who taught in my master’s program took on a new full-time job mid-semester and still finished the course as our instructor. She enlisted the help of a couple grad students to be TAs and would skype in with us for class, as she couldn’t physically be present. It worked out for us.
My husband has been an adjunct instructor at a couple colleges for the past 10 years and he would prioritize a full-time, tenured track position, but you definitely need to consider the terms of your contract. In a perfect world, you can do both or finish one before the other starts. But tenured teaching opportunities in higher education are becoming increasingly rare, so you have to decide what will pay off in the long run.
Post # 12
I would absolutely bail on an adjunct position mid-semester if I had an offer for a full-time, alt-ac opportunity in hand.
One caveat: since you’re looking for work outside of academia, you’ll need to be absolutely certain that you are willing to burn all your academic bridges. Leaving in the middle of the semester will make it impossible to be rehired at that institution and will jeopardize your chances of being hiring elsewhere. That said, you’ve already burned your bridge to tenure track by adjuncting for several years… I’m sure other professor bees will chime in with anecdotes about how they know someone who adjuncted for a few years and then landed a great TT job, but that is the exception, not the rule.
You’re describing adjuncts who teach courses in their field while pursuing down full-time professional careers. What other Bees are responding to are the thousands of PhDs who think adjuncting is a stepping stone to being hired as a tenure track professor.
I recognize that there’s a problem of collective action – every recent PhD would have to refuse adjunct work in order to make a real difference in the way universities make faculty hires – but I am tired of hearing my colleagues complain about adjunct salaries. It’s a waste of time to pretend that more than two years of adjuncting post-conferral is a productive career choice. It’s a self-destructive career choice, move on.
Post # 13
I feel like employees are often more loyal than employers. I think when building a career it is necessary to think selfishly. As harsh as it.ia I think that in general employers don’t care about employees. We are easy to replace and the employer is ready to sell anyone at any point if the price is right. So don’t think about commitment, responsibility etc. Just think what is best for you.
Post # 14
- Wedding: July 2017 - State Park
Hi! I work in higher ed! My advice is basically to know your department. Is there faculty who could pick up your classes? Have people left mid- semester before?
You’re probably burning the bridge if you go mid-semester unless you’re super upfront with your department chair and/or academic dean. If you don’t care, then whatever. But being able to teach a class or two a semester is great extra money even if you do have a full time job. Many professional staff at my institution are also adjunct instructors for web based courses – after your first semester they’re cake. Could you hold off for this semester and for spring request evening and web classes only so you could reasonably take a different full time job and finish out the semester without much issue?
What have other adjuncts looking for full time work outside of academia done?
Post # 15
If I couldn’t negotiate a way to star at the end of the semester or juggle both, I’d leave the teaching position.
If the university wants dedicated employees to work for them and won’t leave mid semester, they need to provide better benefits and job security.