Adjunct faculty members do not face the rigorous hiring process that their tenure-track counterparts do, but preparing for an interview for an adjunct position is equally as important. The interview is your opportunity to explain your teaching philosophy and convince the hiring committee that their school needs your teaching skills. Being well-prepared for your interview can be the key in securing an adjunct position.
Find out the logistics of the interview. Many adjunct faculty interviews include a sample teaching session, where the hiring committee expects you to teach a lesson to the committee or a live classroom full of students. If your interview includes this requirement, it is best to find out right away so that you have time to adequately prepare for the teaching portion of the interview.
Review your teaching philosophy. The hiring committee will want to know your teaching style and the goals of your teaching. Reviewing your teaching philosophy will refresh your memory about why you want to teach at a college or university, and it can prepare you to answer related questions during the interview.
Review your past teaching experience. The hiring committee will be interested in your teaching history, including the range of courses you taught, the challenges you faced as a teacher and the ages of the students you taught. Since you are applying for an adjunct position, you might not have years of teaching experience, but even experience as a teaching assistant or graduate assistant can be relevant for an adjunct position.
Think about the courses you want to teach. You know about the department for which you are interviewing, but you might not know what course options exist for you. The hiring committee will likely ask what courses you would like to teach, so have a running list in your head. You might even mention a course that the department does not yet offer -- but would like to -- which can be a selling point to the hiring committee.
Prepare some questions for the hiring committee. Ask about the freedom that adjunct faculty members have to choose courses; some schools simply assign adjuncts to teach lower-level undergraduate courses. Avoid asking about pay or benefits information until you receive an offer -- you don't want to look like you're in it soley for the money.
Tips & Warnings
- Spend some time visiting the website of the school with whom you are interviewing so you know a little about the history, demographics and philosophy of the school. This information will help you develop relevant, intelligent questions and impress the committee.
- Never talk negatively about past employers regardless of the situation. Academia is a culture unto itself and you never know who knows your previous employers or supervisors.
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