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What is an Adjunct Professor? 

 October 14, 2022

By  James Brauer

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5 Questions to Explain the Role of Adjunct Professor

An adjunct professor is a widely popular role in higher education today, but what exactly does an adjunct professor do? The purpose of this blog post is to answer that question and more. It also includes how to become an adjunct professor and the benefits and challenges of the position. Become an adjunct professor by reading this article.

What is an adjunct professor and what do they do?

Adjunct professors are part-time professors, also referred to as instructors or lecturers, who teach one or two courses per semester at colleges or universities. An adjunct professor typically possesses the same qualifications as a full-time professor, including a master’s degree or PhD. Part-time faculty, however, often do not have the same level of job security and benefits as full-time faculty. 

How do you become an adjunct professor and what are the requirements? 

Depending on the school, adjunct professors must have at least a master’s degree in the field in which they wish to teach. Additionally, some schools may require applicants to have teaching experience, although this is not always the case. 

As an adjunct professor, what are the professional and financial benefits? 

An adjunct professor enjoys a number of benefits, both professionally and financially. In addition to continuing to work in their field, educators have additional time for research and other professional pursuits. Moreover, adjunct professors usually have a substantial amount of free time than full-time professors because they teach only one or two courses per semester. 

What are some of the challenges that adjunct professors face in their jobs? 

A major challenge that adjunct professors face is job insecurity. Since adjunct professors are only employed on a part-time basis, their contracts can be terminated at any time. A number of adjunct professors have also reported that they do not feel fully integrated into the school community due to the lack of office space and access to resources that full-time faculty members enjoy. Finally, adjunct professors often feel that they are not adequately compensated for their work because they are paid by the course. 

What is the difference between the adjunct professor role and a full-time professor role, and why is this becoming more common in higher education institutions across the country?

Job security is the most significant difference between adjunct professors and full-time professors. Full-time professors typically hold tenure-track positions, which offer them significantly more job security than adjunct professors. A full-time professor has access to more resources at their institution and is typically paid more than an adjunct professor. Due to rising tuition costs and shrinking endowments, many schools are increasingly relying on part-time faculty members, such as adjunct professors, to reduce expenses. As a result, the number of adjunct professorship positions has grown significantly in recent years while the number of full-time professorship positions has remained relatively stagnant. 

Conclusion

We hope this blog post has provided you with a better understanding of what adjunct professorships entail as well as some of the pros and cons associated with them. An adjunct professorship can be a great way to supplement your income while still pursuing your passion for teaching; however, it is important to be aware of some of the challenges associated with the position before making a decision.

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James Brauer


James Brauer, Ed.D., MBA is currently Director of Graduate Education at Avila University. Previously he was a virtual school administrator of a public online school serving students throughout the state of Iowa. Brauer has also served as an assistant principal and special education teacher. He is passionate about leadership and management, health and wellness, and personal development.

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