Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finding Faculty to Teach Philosophy Courses

Here are comments from survey respondents describing how, if at all, they have dealt with the issue of finding (adjunct, part-time, etc.) faculty to teach philosophy courses.

  • We have two tenure track positions. Adjuncts are rarely used, and rarely available in our small town.
  • I am it and the only game in town. The nearest trained philosopher is 90 miles away.
  • We are fortunate the the director of our Liberal Arts Institute has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is willing to teach an introductory philosophy course for us each semester.
  • An ongoing problem. We contact the director of graduate education at the giant research university in town. We sometimes advertise in the Help Wanted pages of the local newspaper. We have in the past entered notices for adjuncts in various online philosophical publications.
  • Each semester, we have (an) adjunct(s) teach two or three sections of our general-education courses. In the past, we relied heavily for this on a colleague who is a faculty member in political science at a neighboring institution but who had some interest in philosophy as well. Now, we are in the better position of having some local graduate students -- including three of our own recent alumni -- to recruit as adjuncts. This is especially promising for us because my two full-time colleagues and I are all men, and two of our recent graduates who are grad students living in the area are women (our overall college student population is something like 65-70% women).
  • Programme is interdisciplinary so a certain freedom is allowed.
  • Cancel courses when we don't have adjuncts, then ask the dean for a new hire.
  • Not applicable yet since I haven't been chair. Our department takes active steps to avoid reliance on contingent faculty: we teach our lower-level courses except when sabbatical replacements require hiring someone.
  • It is a constant battle with my institution to hire staff. We are all overworked, and rather than spending the money, they find stray hours from less than enthusiastic, underemployed and underskilled nay-saying colleagues for whom we end up having to do anything anyway. So we either work too much or drop philosophy from the curriculum.
  • Word of mouth. Local graduate schools. Ads in paper.
  • Interviewed extensively and conduct strong reference checks
  • Lowering of standards, closing of eyes and hoping, prayer to all available gods.
  • There is a research institution nearby with Ph.D. students needing to beef up their cv's. This pretty much suffices.
  • We mine the graduate pool at a nearby University of California. The problem is that the good teachers inevitably leave in a couple of years. The poor teachers or ones with terminal MAs stay. So it's really a perpetual search.
  • We ultimately won our arguments to administrators to add a line. Only increasing faculty has helped that problem. Oh, and we moved to shed our general education course, we no longer contribute to the gen.ed. curriculum.
  • We use lots of adjunct faculty. We get grad students from local PhD programs, and a few older people who are either unaffiliated philosophers looking for work or else people with masters degrees who enjoy teaching philosophy.
  • This is a problem we have not yet found a solution to.
  • sent requests to state graduate institutions for part time instruction
  • I have spoken to philosophers at other institutions, however most are "put off" by the fact that there is no "proper" philosophy dept here.
  • Ask administration as need arises.
  • We have two adjuncts, both with PhDs. We also launch a new national job search every couple of years to find a replacement for a departing tenure-track position.
  • Adjuncts, of course. It turns out in our small city there are a lot of people with Ph.D.s in Philosophy who are willing to teach a few courses. Also, I do a lot of service for other departments - teaching an overload every year, for instance - which wins our department a bit of favor and help from other departments. We recently started a joint minor in political philosophy with the Government department; we have an optional joint major with Religion; we are working on other joint majors and minors; and we collaborate a lot with Classics and Art on courses like Ancient Phil and Aesthetics.
  • Few natural sources for adjunct teaching (e.g. graduate programs) in our area. Just keep looking..
  • I call other philosophy departments in the area.
  • Maintained contacts with the local PhD granting institution.
  • I am not on the hiring committee.
  • Haven't really had a problem with this.
  • We have hired several adjuncts from the nearest university with a graduate program. This year we will be making a full-time hire, which we'll do by advertising in Jobs For Philosophers.
  • Newspaper ads. Our administration takes the view that anyone with at least some philosophy background (i.e. major as an undergrad) are qualified. Also contact nearby grad programs but they are over an hour away so rarely find any advanced graduate students in the area.
  • Most courses are taught by the two full-time faculty, and the remaining few are taught by qualified and supervised adjuncts.
  • Pressured management for more staff!
  • cooperation with a research institution situated in the region.
  • This is hardly a concern.
  • We adamantly REFUSE to become involved in this activity. The search for part-time faculty is the result of money-driven academics. Fifty years ago, the part-time professor was a well-educated community member who wanted the experience of teaching, regardless of the pay. It was fun, meaningful on-the-side employment. None of that is true today. Now, programs are FUNDED on the backs of adjunct/contingent faculty. This happens in ALL "humanities" disciplines. Need I point out the obvious irony of funding programs by having, say, poorly-paid professors teach writing intensive comp courses so that full professors can teach to classes of five on Marxist readings of literature? Together, and with the (serendipitous) approval of our dean, we have committed to never offering a philosophy course that the full-time faculty will not teach, and to adamantly pressing the Provost to make a new line when the demand for courses exceeds our contractual load. Our hand will only work, though, if we (once again) draw in the numbers.
  • Again, happily, there are faculty in other departments (classics and political science) with graduate training in philosophy who are happy to teach courses for us, some of which are cross-listed with their own department (the cross-listing option certainly helps here).
  • Not a large issue as my institution is an a large metropolitan area.
  • not an issue; no money.
  • I have recruited recently graduated doctoral students in philosophy from the major regional philosophy department. So far this has worked well, but there is a chance that the recruitment opportunities will dry up. I have had trouble finding suitably qualified people to take on our teaching of Buddhist Philosophy - and resorted to an honour student from a neighbouring university the last time the course ran. The student in question was highly qualified in other respects - with strong relevant language skills and a deep knowledge of Buddhism - and the course was highly successful. But the continuing situation is not satisfactory.
  • This has been difficult in our town.
  • I think that this is a major concern at my college that gets ignored. We have adjuncts teaching our gen ed philosophy courses who are not trained philosophers, and who as far as I can tell don't bring us majors.
  • Religious studies picks up a philosophy of religion class for us. Otherwise, we teach our courses.
  • Members of senate were convinced about the need to start a graduate programme (with the help of faculty from some American and European universities) to help fill in vacant positions. In fact, I had my Masters through such a scheme before I left to pursue my doctoral studies.

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