Crowder seeks adjunct professors

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Federal changes posing challenges to hiring

Crowder College in Cassville is seeking adjunct professors to teach courses in a variety of subjects.

"As we grow and add programs we're always looking for qualified teachers," said Angela Seymour, campus director.

Due to the sometimes temporary, revolving door nature of adjunct teaching, Seymour said the college is always looking for talented teachers to offer quality courses and degree programs to residents.

The two-year, state community school has been providing educational options for residents of Barry and surrounding counties in for over 30 years. A sampling of degree offerings include associate of arts, science and applied sciences degrees in a multitude of subject areas, as well as specialized certificate programs. The college also offers Adult Education and Literacy programs, including the high school equivalency exam and English as a Second Language.

But, in the last year and a half or so, federal changes to the public school retirement system have presented new challenges to finding qualified teachers for the the educational institution.

"The school retirement system changed and restricted how many hours someone can teach," Seymour said. "It's frustrating for the teachers because it's out of their hands. It's federal.

"You get a retired teacher with excellent skills and have to tell them they can only work so many hours. We didn't have that before."

Exactly how many hours a retired teacher can work depends on their classification, but the change has presented challenges for both the college and teachers.

"The [federal government was] working out the formulas on the amount of hours, then finally settled on the formula they're using now," Seymour said. "It came out better than what we thought, but still not good. It's been quite the challenge.

"I'll have someone teaching three classes and want to put them into another class, and they would be great, but I can't. That's part of why we have openings. That and just student demand."

Seymour said the college is always seeking to grow and add programs, but it must have qualified teachers to teach them, so it's a catch 22.

"We're always looking for great teachers," Seymour said. "There are classes I would love to offer but we don't have qualified staff to team them, or, we don't have a classroom available."

The college is seeking adjunct instructors to teach geography, social work and physical sciences. To qualify to teach as an adjunct instructor, a teacher must have a masters degree in the core subject, or a minimum of 18 hours at the masters level in the subject matter.

Seymour said adjunct positions are part-time, have no benefits, and compensation depends on the number of credit hours they are teaching.

The college is also seeking online adjunct teachers.

"They must be approved to teach by the division chair first," Seymour said. "The same credentials are required to teach online, but they also have to pass a four-week, intensive online training."

There is one exception to the requirement of having a master's degree to teach an adjunct class, and that is if it is a developmental course or technical subject. But, Seymour said those types of courses are rarely offered.

Seymour said the specific requirements to teach are important because they are tied to their accreditation.

"It's part of our accreditation so that our courses transfer easily for our students," she said.

For more information on teaching adjunct classes at any of the Crowder campuses and locations, people may call Angela Seymour at 417-847-1706, or email her at angelaseymour@crowder.edu. Or, people may visit www.crowder.edu, click on the jobs link, and apply online.

Crowder has campuses or satellite locations in Cassville, Neosho, Monett, Mt. Vernon, Webb City, Nevada, Carthage and Jane.

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