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Old 12-01-2008, 04:22 PM
5,906 posts, read 11,830,907 times
Reputation: 4645


I teach geography at the community college level.

I feel like I've had an "a-ha" moment (just today actually). And I've wanted to bounce this idea off some of you.

As I have mentioned in another post, I've expressed a frustration in a previous post stated that I was dissillusioned with the quality of students at the community college level. However due to some reality checks from other people, stating that you find the same thing at the four-year level, and a realization that I need to change my teaching stradegies and indeed:

a. "make it more interesting" and
b. "hold to my standards"

I discovered that the solutions to my frustrations in teaching lie within me, and I realize I don't mind teaching at the community college level.

I then asked myself what to do about the other factor towards my career development. Right now I am adjunct, and only have a Masters.

For most people the answer is to move on to a PhD. I am in the middle of an application process, however deep down I feel hesitant. The "ivory tower" just doesn't feel right for me. But it seems like its the only option of career advancement that can lead to something more high paying and more secure/stable.

What do you guys think about an adjunct faculty writing his/her own lab manual and even textbook (or at least a supplementary). I bet it would be a fantastic career move, get your name out there, and you can even make a bit of money (not a lot but still).

After having reviewed many textbooks and lab manuals. I feel there are still things I find things that I would do differently. I'm sure its really competitive, so I'm not so sure about the making money part.

But do you think that this is the kind of things to do on ones own time (such as during the four week winter break or over August when schools not in session) that can be a major career advancement and put oneself into a competitive advantage as far as getting a permanent, full time position?
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:40 PM
268 posts, read 999,993 times
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Be careful. Check the policy of the school (especially if it is a community college). Some, especially the smaller schools, have rules that state that since they've provided you with the situation and equipment to write the lab manual, then they own it. Some will give you 50% of the 10% residuals -which is really not a lot.

However, if you do decide to go that route, there are many small companies that will publish your lab manual for you and provide it to your students as a product.

I've gone that route. My university didn't take any share, but then again, my department hated (read: was envious) of me getting all that money (we have 1000 students per year doing chemLabs), and they voted to switch to a different lab.

Another route you can take (if your school situation is good) is to publish it yourself. It does not cost much to publish in a CD format and you get all the profits not just the royalty.

I've gone that route also. I published an eBook built entirely on Flash. Setting up the company cost me in lawyer fees, buying the equipment to print CD's (with a design on the CD facia) cost some capital investment, but then I gained it all back in just 1 year. . . . and then, the dreaded department envy happened and I was forced to used the standard textbook. >grr!<

So, I suggest you make sure of what the situation is in your school first. But if it's good, it can (depending on the number of students) augment your salary by quite a bit.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:05 PM
Location: ATL suburb
1,364 posts, read 3,901,724 times
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Some of the big companies can still be a bit elitist, if you are an adjunct and/or without a PhD. I know some professors who have their own supplements (notes and DVDs of their lectures) and sell them at the bookstore. Some of the really good and popular ones sometimes become part of the curriculum at that particular school.

Do you have any experience as a book reviewer for one of the larger companies? That can sometimes be a good way to strike up a raport with someone in the company later on.

Is it a good career move? Well, it can't hurt. However, in the sciences, even at a CC, it's more about teaching ability, conferences, to some degree publications, and other extracurricular activities, as well as "fit" and pure luck.

Many full timers will say that you have a limited shelf life as an adjunct. If you've been adjuncting for more than 4 years, some people wonder why you haven't gotten a full time position and it can be counted against you. So you have to do something that lets you stand out among the crowd, and it is overcrowded. This could be what you need. I'd definitely go for it!

Let us know how it goes.
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