Dear Dr. Kirk:
I just came across your blog today and it seems like a great resource for professors. I am writing to see if you have any advice or tips for someone trying to get started as an adjunct professor. I have an MBA and work experience, but no formal teaching experience. I would love to hear any tips or thoughts you have to help me get started.
Thanks! Would Be Teacher
Dear Would Be Teacher:
First of all, as I look over the resume you attached, I see you have an excellent educational background and very relevant work experience in your field. These are things that universities look for in hiring adjuncts. You might list speeches given and your experience training others on a cover letter when applying.
The easiest way to break into teaching is to apply to a community college (it’s how I got started). However, with your background in finance, I think a 4 year college would also be interested in hiring you as an adjunct.
Try contacting professors at universities you are interested in and volunteer to be a guest speaker in their classes. That way you get to make some contacts. When I was at Drake University, we hired several adjuncts this way. It gives the school a chance to see how you handle yourself in a classroom setting.
You might also look through college catalogs (or on websites) to see which classes they offer that you believe you are qualified to teach. Also, go to their bookstores and leaf through the required textbooks for those classes to get a sense of topics covered. This might help you to know how to “sell” yourself.
Just FYI though-adjuncts do not get paid very much. However, it’s a good way to beef up your CV if you think you might want to eventually teach full-time.
Hope this helps. Let me know how it works out for you!