An adjunct professor, also known as an adjunct instructor, is an educator who works on a contract basis at colleges, universities, and technical schools. He or she can teach as many or as few courses as desired because he or she is not burdened the departmental and administrative responsibilities that full-time educators face. Adjunct teaching professionals are not considered employees of the educational institution in some areas, and they contract to teach specific courses during the term. In other cases, the professor must be classified as a part-time employee and must accept a certain number of teaching assignments each term to maintain that status.
This professor’s primary responsibility is to instruct. This entails adhering to institutional standards in terms of following the prescribed curriculum and ensuring that students are exposed to the material necessary to complete the course successfully. In most cases, he or she is free to develop his or her own method of presenting the curriculum materials. Administrators are unlikely to intervene in the teaching process as long as the method is effective in conveying information to students in a way that they can understand.
Aside from teaching, adjunct professors are expected to perform a number of other tasks that full-time educators are expected to perform. Adjuncts are occasionally invited to attend faculty meetings and may participate in any discussions that occur. Instructors in adjunct teaching positions are expected to keep meticulous records of grades and attendance. This professor may meet with students outside of the classroom to discuss issues related to the course at some universities.
Most colleges and universities offer adjunct positions. A qualified candidate may accept adjunct assignments at more than one school in cities with multiple institutions of higher learning. He or she could also work as an online adjunct now that distance learning programs are available. This gives the professor the flexibility to work as much or as little as he or she wants. While a competent professor does not have tenure, he or she can usually secure as many teaching assignments as he or she wants, allowing him or her to simply stop accepting assignments if problems arise with one or more schools.
The lower pay and lack of benefits are two major disadvantages of adjunct teaching. An adjunct professor’s salary is typically less than half that of a tenured professor performing the same duties. Adjuncts are usually responsible for their own health insurance and do not receive paid vacation or sick time unless their contract specifically states otherwise. Nonetheless, many educators who want to avoid university politics and the responsibilities that come with full-time university employment find this type of teaching to be ideal.