Advice to English Majors Looking for Community College Teaching Jobs: Ask These

Here are a few questions that would suggest to me the job candidate knows something about teaching community college English. I would never expect anyone to ask them all, of course, and the categories I have here overlap considerably.  

To find out if you can stretch into new areas:

  • What opportunities for faculty development do your faculty have?
  • Is there an honors program for students? Is there a developmental program for students?
  • Has the college adopted a Course Management System?
  • Are there opportunities to teach online or hybrid courses?
  • When was the last new degree or certificate developed? 

To find out how much the community college cares about its students:

  • Do students sit on any standing committees?
  • Are students ever included when forming hiring committees, policy decisions, curriculum development, or strategic planning?What percentage of students place into your developmental courses?
  • What placement devices are in place?
  • Is placement in developmental reading and writing courses mandatory?
  • Is there a college wide attendance policy? Writing Across the Curriculum policy?
  • Where is the counseling center located? Do counselors have faculty rank and how are they involved in instruction?
  • Are all the full-time faculty involved in academic advisement?
  • What role do student evaluations play in course development and faculty evaluation? 

To find out how much autonomy you would have:

  • What assessments do you have in place to meet general education requirements? To keep all sections of a course equivalent?
  • Are textbooks chosen individually or by committee?
  • How are new courses developed and programs reviewed?
  • What are the key factors considered in granting promotion and tenure? Who makes these decisions?
  • What sort of faculty governance system exists?
  • How was the last accreditation report produced? 

To think about the quality of instruction at the community college:

  • What classroom technology is available for faculty?
  • What technology does the college make available to its students: open computer labs, wireless areas, iPods for podcasting, software for students?
  • What percentage of your A.A. degree graduates transfer to four year colleges?
  • What percentage of your A.A.S. and A.O.S. degree graduates find employment (within six months of graduation)?
  • What support exists for faculty taking advanced training or attending conferences? 
  • Do you have a teaching-learning center for faculty?
  • Do you have a mentoring program for new faculty?
  • What kinds of tutorial support in reading and writing do you have?
  • What is the institution-wide distribution of grades given: % of grades that are As, % of Bs, etc.What is the completion rate for your students? 

Some of these questions are better asked of administrators or division heads and some better asked of the teaching faculty. You might forgo a number of these questions and instead ask if you can borrow a copy of the most recent periodic review report submitted to the college’s accrediting agency. This alone will likely call attention to you, hopefully positive attention, particularly from administrators.

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