Becoming an Adjunct Professor as a Community Service by Natalie Littlefield

Posted on December 13, 2016

Perhaps one of the most important components of a strong economy is a robust education system. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned while working on several economic development projects in El Paso. Despite this basic tenet, however, I’ve observed several obstacles that are keeping this city from achieving a level of success in its education system that would support our growth. One of those obstacles is that there is simply a shortage of good teachers available at the collegiate level. For the sake of El Paso’s future, we need more people in the community to step up and become adjunct professors.

My own time as an adjunct professor was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had. I enjoyed being able to mold people into something better than they were before and witnessing their sense of accomplishment.

Colleges here are always on the lookout for new talent to expand courses that might be interesting to individuals and also to meet employer demand. Technical courses are often in high demand by employers and those who don’t have internal training programs will often reach out to the local colleges for training courses. Texas grant funds like the Skills Development Fund are further popularizing employer training programs at colleges. This is a grant that funds 100% of the training plus the materials needed.

Not only does training benefit employers, who see an uptick in productivity, it also benefits employees who may receive an increase in wages and receive a promotion upon completion of their courses.

Yet even with employer demand for training and the availability of grant funding there is often a shortage or lack of professors who are available to teach the skills that are needed. Rarely is this because there is no one in El Paso with the right skills, but rather it is because skilled individuals have not made the leap to academia.

As employers in the healthcare industry have told me, people with the right skills would rather work in their field than teach because the pay is much better. However true this statement might be it does not bar anyone from becoming an adjunct professor in addition to working at their regular job.

There are several great benefits to becoming an adjunct professor. It offers flexible hours (work during days, nights, or weekends), it can be short term or long term, and it is extra money in the bank. Plus, it offers a valuable service to the community that will help push the economy forward.

With so many benefits to those involved, I hope you will consider making teaching a part of your career and community service.

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