Teaching at community college

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seancris
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Teaching at community college

Postby seancris » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:03 pm

Can anyone provide any insight into how one might obtain a teaching gig at community college with a JD from a strong regional school?

I'm thinking along the lines of teaching criminal law, business law, paralegal courses at night for supplemental income. How should someone pursue this kind of goal?

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Geetar Man
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby Geetar Man » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:12 pm

seancris wrote:Can anyone provide any insight into how one might obtain a teaching gig at community college with a JD from a strong regional school?

I'm thinking along the lines of teaching criminal law, business law, paralegal courses at night for supplemental income. How should someone pursue this kind of goal?


I second this interest.

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caputlupinum
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby caputlupinum » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:58 pm

I took anatomy during summer session at a CC and it was taught by a disbarred med mal attorney he would tell all the nursing students how not to get sued it was pretty interesting...

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:15 pm

There's probably not going to be a lot of info out there for something like this. I would recommend looking through the local community college websites to see what law-related classes they offer and see who is teaching them (and what their background is).

09042014
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby 09042014 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:17 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:There's probably not going to be a lot of info out there for something like this. I would recommend looking through the local community college websites to see what law-related classes they offer and see who is teaching them (and what their background is).


Then email them and ask how they got the job, or to talk over coffee.

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seancris
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby seancris » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:39 pm

Does anyone know who does the hiring for new adjuncts at community colleges? It would probably be best to speak with someone like that in addition to pre-law cc profs.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby DocHawkeye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:53 pm

Look at the online schedule of classes for the upcoming semester. If the schedule lists no instructor (often indicated by "Staff" in the instructor column for courses you are interested in teaching, email the dean of the division and include your resume. Usually a graduate degree is all that is required so a J.D. will do. Very likely, if you're looking to be an adjunct only, they're not really going to care about the "quality" of your degree (i.e.: where it’s from) so long as the school is accredited. I don't know if teaching these kinds of courses counts as "practicing law" (which often includes the teaching if law) for par admission purposes, so you might want to check that out as well.

I taught part-time at a community college for four years before going to law school and it wasn't bad work. The pay was pretty good ($50+ per contact hour) but there is no sick time, vacation, or benefits. Keep in mind though, that even for a subject you know well, preparing to teach a course for the first time is labor intensive. Expect to spend two to three hours researching and "writing" lectures and other materials for each hour you spend teaching. Also, if your long term goal is becoming a law professor, this is not the way to go as community college experience is seen as irrelevant to "real teaching." Focus your time on being published instead.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby DocHawkeye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:55 pm

seancris wrote:Does anyone know who does the hiring for new adjuncts at community colleges? It would probably be best to speak with someone like that in addition to pre-law cc profs.


Deans almost always do their own hiring. Don't bother contact HR, get in touch with a dean with an opening first. This is especially true if its close to the start of a new semester (i.e: less than a month before classes begin).

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seancris
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby seancris » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:00 pm

DocHawkeye wrote:Look at the online schedule of classes for the upcoming semester. If the schedule lists no instructor (often indicated by "Staff" in the instructor column for courses you are interested in teaching, email the dean of the division and include your resume. Usually a graduate degree is all that is required so a J.D. will do. Very likely, if you're looking to be an adjunct only, they're not really going to care about the "quality" of your degree (i.e.: where it’s from) so long as the school is accredited. I don't know if teaching these kinds of courses counts as "practicing law" (which often includes the teaching if law) for par admission purposes, so you might want to check that out as well.

I taught part-time at a community college for four years before going to law school and it wasn't bad work. The pay was pretty good ($50+ per contact hour) but there is no sick time, vacation, or benefits. Keep in mind though, that even for a subject you know well, preparing to teach a course for the first time is labor intensive. Expect to spend two to three hours researching and "writing" lectures and other materials for each hour you spend teaching. Also, if your long term goal is becoming a law professor, this is not the way to go as community college experience is seen as irrelevant to "real teaching." Focus your time on being published instead.


Exactly the kind of response I was hoping to get, thanks. How important is teaching experience to getting an adjunct gig? What kind of credentials would be necessary aside from the JD?

And when you say contact hour, do you mean hours in class? That would be around $150 per class per week? What state was this in if you don't mind sharing?

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby DocHawkeye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:13 pm

seancris wrote:
DocHawkeye wrote:Look at the online schedule of classes for the upcoming semester. If the schedule lists no instructor (often indicated by "Staff" in the instructor column for courses you are interested in teaching, email the dean of the division and include your resume. Usually a graduate degree is all that is required so a J.D. will do. Very likely, if you're looking to be an adjunct only, they're not really going to care about the "quality" of your degree (i.e.: where it’s from) so long as the school is accredited. I don't know if teaching these kinds of courses counts as "practicing law" (which often includes the teaching if law) for par admission purposes, so you might want to check that out as well.

I taught part-time at a community college for four years before going to law school and it wasn't bad work. The pay was pretty good ($50+ per contact hour) but there is no sick time, vacation, or benefits. Keep in mind though, that even for a subject you know well, preparing to teach a course for the first time is labor intensive. Expect to spend two to three hours researching and "writing" lectures and other materials for each hour you spend teaching. Also, if your long term goal is becoming a law professor, this is not the way to go as community college experience is seen as irrelevant to "real teaching." Focus your time on being published instead.


Exactly the kind of response I was hoping to get, thanks. How important is teaching experience to getting an adjunct gig? What kind of credentials would be necessary aside from the JD?

And when you say contact hour, do you mean hours in class? That would be around $150 per class per week? What state was this in if you don't mind sharing?


Yes, “contact hours” means hours in class, so about $150 per week, per course. I taught a very large (13,000+ student) community college in Iowa (there's only one - if you do a little searching, you can find it). I suspect that rate of pay in urban areas in higher, but I don't know. Smaller schools will pay less. The pay is generally not negotiable either and you will be getting paid a standard adjunct rate - the same as the guys who teach in the auto shop, the theater, and computer labs.

I don't think teaching experience is all that important at the outset. When I started, I had been a graduate teaching assistant at a couple of large Midwestern universities but hadn't done any teaching "on my own." You will want to be familiar with the philosophy of community college, though. Admission is often open door, which means that anyone who applies gets in so the students will be very diverse, even in seeming homogeneous areas (ask yourself, minorities in Iowa?). Your job is to help them reach their goals, not to make the sort of fine distinctions between very similar students that you see being made in law school. While high standards are great, you will have to give careful though to how you assess those results. In sum, it’s a great experience but can get a bit daunting if you don't have the right state of mind. I'd be happy to take any other questions that you have.

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seancris
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby seancris » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:38 pm

Adjuncts at my community college held office hours. Are those hours paid as well? Or is that unpaid time that is often spent preparing for lectures?

From your last post it also seems like you're implying that cc profs shouldn't flunk students. Is anyone looking over your shoulder when it comes to student grades?

Also, you make it seem like landing a community college adjunct gig is a slam dunk for anyone with a graduate degree. Apparently it doesn't matter what school you attended, teaching experience is not necessary, etc. Is that the case? Just a pulse and JD?

Thanks again for your willingness to provide insight. I've been thinking about this as an option on and off for a few years and it's great to be able to learn more.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby DocHawkeye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:54 pm

seancris wrote:Adjuncts at my community college held office hours. Are those hours paid as well? Or is that unpaid time that is often spent preparing for lectures?

From your last post it also seems like you're implying that cc profs shouldn't flunk students. Is anyone looking over your shoulder when it comes to student grades?

Also, you make it seem like landing a community college adjunct gig is a slam dunk for anyone with a graduate degree. Apparently it doesn't matter what school you attended, teaching experience is not necessary, etc. Is that the case? Just a pulse and JD?

Thanks again for your willingness to provide insight. I've been thinking about this as an option on and off for a few years and it's great to be able to learn more.


Generally, you are not actually paid "hourly" but paid a contract fee for teaching the course. Anything you need to do to teach that course is part of that fee. For example, the community college I taught at paid roughly $2400 per course, per semester. This included classroom time, prep time, and office hours. I have to confess that I never actually set office hours but was willing to meet "by appointment." Nobody ever comlained. When I was a TA, i was required to have office hours. Nobody ever came.

I'm not saying that community college prof's can't flunk student. As a matter of fact, roughly 1/3 of the students that registered for my classes fould fail each semester, but most of those were because they didn't come to class and didn't do the work. I know that the college had guidelines for "acceptable" passage rates, but I was never compelled to comply with those and I don't think they were policy as much as a tool to meausre insitutional effectiveness. So, no, nobody was ever looking over my shoulder when in came to the grades I awarded. Still, I took it as a measure of the effectiveness of my own teaching that I had relatively high passage rates.

In my part of the country, adjunct slots are hard to fill in some areas. Part of this is because one must have a graudate degree in areas where such a thing is possible (you generally can't get a masters degree in machining, for example, so substantial industry experience [i.e.: 10,000 or 20,000 hours] will suffice.). In addition, there is little job security since contracts are usually semester-to-semester as well as no vacation or benefits associated with these positions. They make a great part time job but some people don't have enough energy after working 50 hours a week to spend another 3 or 4 teaching. Some people are scared of community colleges, especially if you're not a product of one or don't know what goes on there. If you have a genuine interest in teaching, I think you would probably be able to find such a position.

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seancris
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby seancris » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:04 pm

This is all pretty encouraging. Looking at a 500/mo student loan payment and seeing that it wouldn't too hard to get a 600/mo cc gig for one class... seems like a reasonable way for a 0L to justify the debt going into the legal job market ITE.

As a product of a community college I have absolutely no fears about teaching there. I think it would be a great and enjoyable experience.

What kinds of courses do you think a JD would qualify one to teach? Aside from the obvious law-related and paralegal courses, what about other government-related subjects? For example I had generic courses in American National Government, State and Local Government, etc. Would a JD along with a bachelor's in polisci & government work experience be sufficient credentials?

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby DocHawkeye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:17 pm

I don't know what the reach of a JD would be in the community college market. Some of the restrictions are statutory or administrative as communnity colleges are often regulated by departments of education in their various states similar to high schools.

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Gail
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby Gail » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:38 pm

This is what they're talking about when they say "academia" in employment numbers.


It's not a bad gig. Professors at my ug teaching law are pulling down really good money for a few lectures about biz-law. More than what you'd even get in shitlaw.

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caputlupinum
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby caputlupinum » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:08 am

Gail wrote:This is what they're talking about when they say "academia" in employment numbers.


It's not a bad gig. Professors at my ug teaching law are pulling down really good money for a few lectures about biz-law. More than what you'd even get in shitlaw.


I disagree while you don't make money at all starting out in shitlaw.... The ones who have established themselves 10+ years (if you haave yet to become a full blown alcoholic or off themselves) seem to do pretty well some even have more money than jesus(private jet at general aviation terminal).

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ph14
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby ph14 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:08 pm

Gail wrote:This is what they're talking about when they say "academia" in employment numbers.


It's not a bad gig. Professors at my ug teaching law are pulling down really good money for a few lectures about biz-law. More than what you'd even get in shitlaw.


How much money are the profs at your ug teaching law? And do they need a PhD to go along with their JD or get published like normal professors?

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Gail
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby Gail » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:20 pm

ph14 wrote:
Gail wrote:This is what they're talking about when they say "academia" in employment numbers.


It's not a bad gig. Professors at my ug teaching law are pulling down really good money for a few lectures about biz-law. More than what you'd even get in shitlaw.


How much money are the profs at your ug teaching law? And do they need a PhD to go along with their JD or get published like normal professors?


80k - 100k a year (midwest).

Only JD is required. One professor is from a TTTT. Real sweet guy though.
Last edited by Gail on Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gail
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Re: Teaching at community college

Postby Gail » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:25 pm

caputlupinum wrote:
Gail wrote:This is what they're talking about when they say "academia" in employment numbers.


It's not a bad gig. Professors at my ug teaching law are pulling down really good money for a few lectures about biz-law. More than what you'd even get in shitlaw.


I disagree while you don't make money at all starting out in shitlaw.... The ones who have established themselves 10+ years (if you haave yet to become a full blown alcoholic or off themselves) seem to do pretty well some even have more money than jesus(private jet at general aviation terminal).


I think it's possible. That's a really long view of it too. The one thing I'm unsure about with small law is long term raises. What can a small firm lawyer expect to be making 3 years out? 5 years out? 10 years out? Assuming he sticks with it. This is important to consider for 1. IBR and the like and 2. if you have 120k in debt, paying it off with a 45k salary will be hell and you'll barely skate by on 25 year plan. If, however, that bumps up to 60k 3 years out, it becomes extremely doable to start paying it off with reason again.




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