Adjunct instructors are hired to teach college courses on a part-time or per class basis. Adjunct instructors typically teach classes related to the professional field in which they are currently employed. Some are retired from a given profession and teach based on the experience and expertise they gained while working.
The primary job function and responsibility of an adjunct instructor is to teach college courses or supervise lab classes. This includes preparation of class materials and in-class instruction in line with the established curriculum or competencies for a given class. College instructors typically have significant autonomy over the approach and style they use in teaching, but they must provide information and learning that relates to the course outline.
Adjunct instructors must develop a course guide or syllabus for each class they teach. A syllabus outlines the requirements of a course, the information covered in the class and the specific course policies and expectations for students. An outline of grading criteria and calculation is also typically covered in a syllabus. A syllabus is usually presented to a class on the first day and reviewed so that students understand expectations.
Classroom management is not always the most enjoyable responsibility for adjunct instructors, but it is necessary. This includes taking attendance at each class and maintaining accurate attendance records. It also includes communicating classroom expectations with students and enforcing them. Students that interrupt, talk loudly or engage in other distracting behaviors take away form the learning environment and the opportunity for others to learn. Many college instructors have instituted no cell phone policies as of 2011, in order to prompt student attentiveness. Asking students to leave class is sometimes a last resort of requests for attention are not obliged.
Adjunct instructors need to establish grading criteria and track student scores over the course of the term. Following the term, instructors enter final grades for each student. Effective grading includes outlining criteria used in grade computation as well the scoring system. Instructors can often avoid grading disputes from students by thoroughly stating grading policies and procedures and then adhering to them in the course of grading. Regular communication on up-to-date grades is also good for adjunct instructors.
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