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Adjunct Faculty as Advisor

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Posted (edited)

Is it a good idea to approach an Adjunct Professor at a Department to be your PhD Advisor?Do they normally supervise PhD students?

Edited by aditi123

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Posted (edited)

NO!!!!!!!!!

Adjuncts are usually part-time, supplementary professors to the program, and generally teach at several universities in proximity to one another in order to make ends meet.

Only graduate faculty are allowed to advise graduate students. To be graduate faculty, you must be a full-time professor with an appropriate PhD and in good standing. Professors who are in phase-out retirement standing cannot serve as advisors, nor can "junior professors" (MA, ABD holders), and certainly not adjunct faculty members, who may or may not be rehired from one semester to the next dependent upon financial and course-related exigencies.

The website for a university, or the graduate catalog of the university or department, should have a list of faculty members you can approach as graduate advisors.

You CAN have an adjunct professor on your thesis or dissertation committee; in fact, for the dissertation, you must have at least one outside scholar as a member of your committee. But only if the professor has a PhD. MAs are usually not permitted to serve as graduate faculty or on graduate/thesis committees except under exceptional circumstances and with department approval ahead of time (that would be the blind leading the blind, yes? Or like being reviewed by a coworker instead of your supervisor). But they absolutely can't be thesis or dissertation advisors.

FYI, because it doesn't hurt to know, the order is:

Assistant Professor (junior faculty/ pre-tenure - can advise undergrads and sit on committees for graduate faculty; with appropriate degree, can serve as a graduate advisor (PhD only))

Associate Professor (usually awarded with tenure, must have a book)

Professor (highest full-time position in a department; often an endowed chair, but not always)

Emeritus (retired, but can still teach an occasional course and/or sit on a committee)

Hope that helps - good luck!

Edited by Medievalmaniac

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To answer your questions. No and No. Medievalmaniac brings up great points but also Adjuncts hold no sway and have no wait to through around like a TT or tenured professor. They might be nice as an accessory on your supervisory committee provided they have appropriate experience. And lets face it LOR's from adjuncts do not carry as much weight as those from regular professors.

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Adjuncts aren't even real people. Be sure not to make eye contact if passing in the halls.

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Adjuncts aren't even real people. Be sure not to make eye contact if passing in the halls.

What an awful thing to say. While it's true adjuncts cannot serve as graduate advisors, it is not true that they aren't important. Even if they are not full time faculty, they are still professors, and therefore deserving of respect from their students as such. Furthermore, adjuncts often 'work twice as hard for half the pay', as it were; I know some who teach as many as seven courses per semester, sometimes at multiple campuses, for a stipend for each class (about $2500.00) and no benefits. They are definitely people, and certainly merit respect!

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What an awful thing to say. While it's true adjuncts cannot serve as graduate advisors, it is not true that they aren't important. Even if they are not full time faculty, they are still professors, and therefore deserving of respect from their students as such. Furthermore, adjuncts often 'work twice as hard for half the pay', as it were; I know some who teach as many as seven courses per semester, sometimes at multiple campuses, for a stipend for each class (about $2500.00) and no benefits. They are definitely people, and certainly merit respect!

This is why I would never try to get into academia right now. Tenure track positions are one in a million and most people end up with miserable pay as adjuncts. What a nightmare!

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Adjuncts aren't even real people. Be sure not to make eye contact if passing in the halls.

Pretty sure this was a joke?

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Pretty sure this was a joke?

Yes to this.....

NO!!!!!!!!!

And triple yes to this.

There are plenty of brilliant folk working as adjuncts. But it is completely inappropriate and almost always specifically forbidden to have them as advisors.

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What an awful thing to say. While it's true adjuncts cannot serve as graduate advisors, it is not true that they aren't important. Even if they are not full time faculty, they are still professors, and therefore deserving of respect from their students as such. Furthermore, adjuncts often 'work twice as hard for half the pay', as it were; I know some who teach as many as seven courses per semester, sometimes at multiple campuses, for a stipend for each class (about $2500.00) and no benefits. They are definitely people, and certainly merit respect!

$2500!!!! I only get $1800! I hope that's a joke. If it is, that's not funny. angry.gif

tongue.gif

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Posted

If you hunt around on the Chronicle forums (but not so much that you risk losing your optimism and mental health ;)) there are threads about adjunct salaries. The lowest low seems to be $900, and the highest high $5000. Adjuncts often make less per course than grad students, because grad student pay often has a small scholarship component.

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Posted (edited)

I'm actually both a grad student and adjunct faculty. I get $600/credit to teach and no benefits. This is actually a better deal than I got as a TA/RA when I got $8.50/hr (50 cents more than minimum wage). At my school, there are no tuition waivers for TAs and certainly no benefits--not even an upgraded parking pass.

Edited by Hermes

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Posted

NO!!!!!!!!!

Adjuncts are usually part-time, supplementary professors to the program, and generally teach at several universities in proximity to one another in order to make ends meet.

Only graduate faculty are allowed to advise graduate students. To be graduate faculty, you must be a full-time professor with an appropriate PhD and in good standing. Professors who are in phase-out retirement standing cannot serve as advisors, nor can "junior professors" (MA, ABD holders), and certainly not adjunct faculty members, who may or may not be rehired from one semester to the next dependent upon financial and course-related exigencies.

The website for a university, or the graduate catalog of the university or department, should have a list of faculty members you can approach as graduate advisors.

You CAN have an adjunct professor on your thesis or dissertation committee; in fact, for the dissertation, you must have at least one outside scholar as a member of your committee. But only if the professor has a PhD. MAs are usually not permitted to serve as graduate faculty or on graduate/thesis committees except under exceptional circumstances and with department approval ahead of time (that would be the blind leading the blind, yes? Or like being reviewed by a coworker instead of your supervisor). But they absolutely can't be thesis or dissertation advisors.

FYI, because it doesn't hurt to know, the order is:

Assistant Professor (junior faculty/ pre-tenure - can advise undergrads and sit on committees for graduate faculty; with appropriate degree, can serve as a graduate advisor (PhD only))

Associate Professor (usually awarded with tenure, must have a book)

Professor (highest full-time position in a department; often an endowed chair, but not always)

Emeritus (retired, but can still teach an occasional course and/or sit on a committee)

Hope that helps - good luck!

This helped a lot. One of my seniors has told me that it depends on adjunct faculty and they might supervise phd students. When I asked him what would happen if the prof's tenure ends before my research completes, he told me that i would be then supervised by someone else in his place. I was still confused when I stumbled upon this. So please help me out here, do I need to confirm from each adjunct prof I am interested in whether he would be taking students or is it strictly not allowed for them to take phd students? Also Emeritus profs do take phd students, right? Please reply as soon as possible... Thanks.

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Posted

Yugioh, in the USA, most adjunct professors work on semester-long or year-long contracts. Some are not even able to say right now, in January, whether they'll be employed in August, much less whether they can supervise a PhD student. You should not apply to do a PhD supervised by an adjunct in the US. 

 

Emeritus professors have retired and generally do not take PhD students since they are no longer full-time faculty.

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Adjunct Professors in other countries: Fulltime Professor in one instituton (has full-research group there) who are invited to work part-time in other institution.

In these countries, you can have adjunct professors as your advisor with conditional requirement that you have another full-time professor in your institution as co-advisor.

 

Adjunct Professors in USA: Part-time worker scrambling for work

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Posted

Actually, there are also adjunct faculty who are full time elsewhere and maintaining a research connection in the US- I had one such individual on my committee. 

 

They'd moved to another university, but were still on a 10 year grant at mine, so they were given an adjunct position to stay official at the previous school. 

 

Adjuncts can also be faculty who are full time in another department in the same school, and that's relatively common. 

 

Also, Assistant/Associate/Full can carry different connotations at different institutions- generalizations are good, but titles are not in any way absolute. 

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Posted

Thank you everyone... I hope I get admitted.

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