Sunday, February 3, 2013

Reconfigure Your Academic Employment With Online Faculty Positions

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...
Hands collaborating in co-writing or co-editing or co-teaching in online education (Wikipedia)
by Michael Greene

According to those that watch the academic employment landscape for changes that impact the livelihoods of post-secondary educators, the increase in the number of part-time college and university instructors started climbing about a decade ago and hasn't stopped yet.

This reconfiguration of the status of academic labor has caused a great deal of financial hardship for aspiring faculty members thinking that a tenured position is available through hard work and dedication to teaching as a career.

Unfortunately, the dream of a lifelong academic position accompanied by regular salary increases, budgets for research and growing perks such as defined benefits retirement packages and group medical plan rates with a four-year college or university is rapidly becoming an antique idea for the vast majority of academics.

As unnerving as all of these changes can be to anyone wanting to teach for a living or still trying to teach for a living on a physical campus, the reality is that the individual college instructor can take steps to adjust to the new academic landscape that is appearing on the Internet.

However, some serious analysis is required in order to actually understand how much the new academic employment paradigm requires of educators in terms of accommodation.

That is, there are certain concessions that a prospective online adjunct instructor must make in order to actually prosper as an online college teacher, and it must be understood that online teaching is no longer an option for the career-minded academic.

While earning a Ph.D. or master's degree is certainly an exhilarating experience primarily because it validates the individual's perception of intellectual soundness, the usual next step in the academic process, which almost always involves so attempt to teach college students for a living, often deflates the dream of a fully compensated life as a tenured university or college professor as the claws of reality take hold and the economic pain starts in earnest.

The danger here is the development of what psychologists refer to as cognitive dissonance.

That is, the harsh professional circumstances are so far removed from the dream that the urge to gravitate to the traditional campus, which is literally bankrupt in a financial sense, soon reveals that there is no real income to be made in the physical classroom anymore, so the adjunct college instructor tries even harder to force income out of the situation which simply cannot supply the necessary remuneration to pay back student loans and finance a decent lifestyle and ultimately experiences a sort of dislocation in thinking about teaching as a career.

The cure for this dislocation caused by the intractable distance between dream and reality is to take a sharply focused look at the numerous online degree programs and to realign the dream of teaching for a living with their presence.

It is extremely difficult today for a traditional adjunct instructor to earn a living wage at a physical college or campus because college and university administrators discovered ten or twelve years ago that the academic labor pool was filled to bursting with educationally qualified individuals who would willing teach in a physical college classroom for practically pennies a day on an adjunct instructor basis because they had the hope that doing so would lead to the coveted tenured positions and all the wonderful benefits associated with it.

Unfortunately, that plan of academic action was doomed to failure because after a college teacher has taught as an adjunct instructor for any length of time at all any attempts to secure a tenure track position would be doomed from the outset.

Basically, teaching college students for more than one or two semesters in as an adjunct college instructor marked the intellectual as an academic untouchable.

However, online bachelor degree programs and online master degree programs have changed this situation for the better and allow the person with an earned graduate degree to become a college teaching legend with online faculty openings.

There is virtually no limit how many online college classes an accomplished online adjunct instructor can teach at one time provided there is a mastery of time management techniques and computer skills necessary for the smooth movement between various accredited online college degree programs.

In addition, the academic marketplace is ballooning with new and returning college students who are more than willing to use their personal computers at home and at work to earn an online masters degree in education, an online finance degree or any of several online degrees for military studies.

As more college students choose to enroll in online degree programs, the more online college classes there will be that need a qualified academic instructor.

The traditional post-secondary academic institutions, state colleges, four-year state universities and community colleges, are envious of the financial and academic successes enjoyed over the last decade by for profit colleges that offer the bachelor degree online and the online master degree and they have every intention to emulate it.

This proliferation of online degree programs on the part of physical colleges and universities ultimately means that these academic institutions will offer more opportunities to teach online full time than even the for-profit colleges, and it is literally possible for a person with an earned graduate degree to acquire a full online teaching schedule that will easily generate a comfortable living.

While teaching online for three or four online college degree programs that offer college students the online bachelor degree and the online master degree, it is possible for a person with an earned graduate degree to teach for a real living, overcome cognitive dissonance generated by the changing academic employment model and become an academic legend with online faculty openings.

Michael Greene is a full time online teacher. Greene has learned that the academic wanting to continue earning a living from teaching should recognize the growing popularity of distance education programs at the post-secondary level of the academy.

Educators qualified to teach at the college level can read more about the financial benefits of an online teaching schedule here at Greene's blog Earn Money Teaching Online.

Greene has learned over the last five years that online adjunct instructors can be delightfully surprised when they discover that many distance universities actually need technically prepared online instructors, and he writes at length about this topic for the benefit of other educators wanting to know more about online teaching as a legitimate career path.

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