List of open part-time academic jobs (adjunct faculty)?
October 20, 2019 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Where exactly are these job ads posted?

I'm looking to teach part-time (for health reasons, and because I'm limited by location, I cannot realistically pursue a full time tenure track position - which of course are few & far between anyway these days).

I am ABD in a subject in the humanities, with lots of TA experience. I live in an American city with numerous colleges. But I can't seem to find listings or postings for adjunct work when I google my discipline and city. Wondering if I'm missing something obvious? Should I just cold email department chairs and ask if they need instructors? The website "higher ed jobs" didn't yield much - mostly non-faculty admin work, or STEM lecturers. Maybe all the jobs are listed in the summertime only?
posted by CancerSucks to Work & Money (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Academic journals and on members only subject specific association web pages in my discipline.
posted by fshgrl at 11:59 PM on October 20, 2019

Have you checked the individual college's web pages for job listings?

Careers | UCLA
Working at USC
Careers Human Resources

I'm not sure most Colleges / Universities are that good at Google searchability or posting jobs to the mass public job listing things. But they generally have a post job listings mandate of some sort.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:22 AM on October 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

Individual college job/career pages on their websites. Colleges are absolute garbage about widely circulating adjunct postings.
posted by augustimagination at 12:37 AM on October 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

If part-time adjunct jobs are listed anywhere other than the institution's hiring website, it's usually in the spring and summer, depending on when budgets are approved and the lead time required to advertise. Sometimes budgets don't get approved until it's too late to advertise, and sometimes new sections are added at the last minute, or an instructor who was scheduled to teach bows out at the last minute, and the chair has to hustle to find someone.

For that reason it's a good idea to write to the chair, or the chair's admin assistant if they have one, with your CV and a short cover letter expressing an interest in any part-time positions they might have opening and your qualifications to teach. When I get such CVs I file them in a (virtual) drawer and then turn to them if I need to find someone on short notice.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:05 AM on October 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

Also, some institutions will occasionally post ads for an "adjunct pool" in various disciplines, especially those where last-minute openings are common, with the idea that they can vet qualifications ahead of time.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:07 AM on October 21, 2019

I've seen these on Indeed. You could also contact department heads directly. They may be helpful, if they are actually looking for good adjuncts.
posted by Kalmya at 3:42 AM on October 21, 2019

Yes for state schools it’s often as simple as Often it’s not a regular web page but some database portal and so entries will not necessarily pop up on google searches.
These all resolve properly; try the names near you.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:07 AM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Adjunct hiring tends to happen in a panic in late summer or over winter break. Many adjunct jobs are never advertised. A chair sends out a note to colleagues who have PhD students or recent alums looking for work, and word of mouth does the rest. Fair or not, your colleagues or mentors have to know you’re looking, have a copy of your CV to hand, and recommend you.

I’ve brokered probably around 50 such adjunct placements over the last 20+ years. It starts with a panicky note from a colleague saying “who have you got who could step in and teach this class on short notice?” Ive got an email folder full of recent CVs for the purpose.

You should also (as brianogilvie says above) send your CV and a brief note listing the range of things you can teach to the chair of every local department in your field, sometime between May and July, and again sometime between November and January, in the US at least.
posted by spitbull at 4:20 AM on October 21, 2019 [19 favorites] under Faculty > your choice of field.

Indeed also works, I've found.
posted by Young Kullervo at 5:11 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

What spitbull says. These things often aren't organized enough to ever see a formal posting anywhere.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:27 AM on October 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Most community colleges will have a catch-all adjunct pool that you can input all your info and job materials in. Typically, you'll stay in their system for a year, so if something comes up they will contact you. Also, make friends with other adjuncts or full-time faculty. This is how my friends and I got a lot of our adjunct jobs. You can contact departments directly, but you may piss off the chair, so I would advise against unless it appears that they tend to hire a ton of adjuncts (which is actually now the norm in higher ed).
posted by wasabifooting at 5:42 AM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

What Spitbull says. Most are never advertised, and reaching out to the people making those hiring decisions is going to be necessary if you aren't otherwise connected.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:19 AM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also be sure you are networked with other people adjuncting in your area (also suggested above). When I was a Department chair I would typically ask our adjunct instructors to recommend people to replace them when they moved on or had a conflict.
posted by spitbull at 7:38 AM on October 21, 2019

I am a department chair who hires adjuncts. We run a “temporary faculty pool” through the university jobs portal, which I go through when I’m looking for new adjuncts. We’ve also successfully hired adjuncts through the process of a potential adjunct handing the department chair a CV. (If you were in mathematics, and in Fairbanks, I’d say come talk to me...)
posted by leahwrenn at 8:50 AM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I should be clear that I am speaking of the adjunct market in a major metropolitan area (NYC) with literally dozens of adjunct-hiring schools, and almost a dozen PhD-granting universities within adjunct-producing range, so the market here is dense, although so is the pool of prospective adjuncts. I should think it would be difficult to make a living (even sort of) adjuncting on a per-class basis in any other setting. I'm also speaking rather specifically about humanities and social science fields, and mostly about private institutions (although around me the public ones also hire adjuncts in a similar mad, informal, network-driven scramble and without the benefit of a rationalized system like some are describing above as a temporary-faculty pool system).
posted by spitbull at 1:57 PM on October 21, 2019

Also I just ran a search on HigherEdJobs, and not only does it only list 5 or 6 adjunct positions nationally in my field (a tiny tiny fraction of the total), it doesn't even list all of the full time and tenure track positions I know to be open and searching in my field. On the other hand, I see a few things I didn't know about, mostly of a not very desirable character. I'd be dubious about relying on that resource for an academic job search.

In a number of fields, my own included, the recent trend is an "academic jobs wiki" maintained informally by volunteers on Wikia, that lists both all known jobs in a field and provides updates on the processes and outcomes of those searches as they unfold, as well as discussions (sometimes bitter and angry) about the state of the market in that field. I do see adjunct and visiting positions listed on the one for my field. Reading these wikis can be demoralizing, but they are useful sources of leads on jobs you might not hear about otherwise. Here's the portal page, scroll way down for links to discipline-specific wikis.
posted by spitbull at 2:08 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another thought, although this is dumb and obvious maybe. Many professional academic societies still run a Listserv (why, I don't know). For my field, I occasionally see notices of available adjunct positions posted to the listserv or the facebook group of the academic society. Make sure you're following all those channels.

Basically, the good advice here boils down to hustle, having your ear to the ground, and networking your contacts.
posted by spitbull at 5:44 AM on October 22, 2019

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