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From the mail bag: Request for job advice

February 16, 2009

Warning: the following is worth what you have paid for it.

A long-suffering reader (this note has gone unaddressed for months), asks the following:

What advice would you have for someone who is 58 years old with over 25 years in the human services arena who’s interested in teaching at the college level? I live 5 minutes from New York City.


B.A.-Social Science
M.S.-Counseling-Pace University, New York City
Ed.M.-Columbia University (Teachers College)-New York City
Specialization-Adult Learning and Leadership (currently enrolled)

Primary Objective: To work with Black Male Adolescents and Adults.

Thank you!

There is not a lot of information to go on here, but I will do what I can.  If you are looking, specifically, for a niche audience, ensure that you are within commuting distance of that audience.

If you are, ensure that you are within commuting distance of 5 or more colleges/universities in that area.

Finally, ensure that you are paying the bills through some alternate means.

Then, apply, very specifically, to the places you wish to teach.  Call the deans/chairs to ask for a face to face.  If they are hiring or considering for the next term (now is not too soon to contact them about next fall), you want to sit in front of them while you talk (assuming you can look professional, put-together and extremely competent).

If you land such a hearing, take your resume/vitae, a sample of your writing, and, if you have it, a sample syllabi.  You want to demonstrate that you can organize information in a cohesive, teachable manner; that you can write (and by extension judge good writing); and that you are not a felon.  Don’t laugh, deans don’t want felons as new hires.  Plenty of them are in the tenured ranks.

Keep at it.  Assume a two-year arc on these sorts of journies.  Academia is a fickle mistress, so woo her accordingly.

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