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Adjunct Faculty as Advisor


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10 replies to this topic

#1 aditi123

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 06:39 AM

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, 22 February 2010 - 06:40 AM.

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#2 Medievalmaniac

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 10:36 AM

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, 22 February 2010 - 10:39 AM.

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Attending UNC-Greensboro beginning Fall 2012, English PhD program, medieval concentration

#3 Genomic Repairman

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 06:23 PM

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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#4 dzk

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 07:52 PM

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

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:23 PM

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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"In this universe effect follows cause. I've complained about it but—" Gregory House
"The difference between genius and insanity is measured only by success". - Unknown
"I don't cause commotions, I am one." - Elphaba, Stephen Swartz's Wicked, The Musical
"The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." Jonathan Larson
(Witty little sayings are to the English major what Pringles are to hoi polloi...no one can have just one.)

Attending UNC-Greensboro beginning Fall 2012, English PhD program, medieval concentration

#6 socnerd

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:08 PM

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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#7 socialpsych

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:51 PM

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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#8 mudlark

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 05:17 AM

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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#9 Tiglath-Pileser III

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 05:31 AM

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. Posted Image

Posted Image
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#10 mudlark

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 05:08 PM

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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#11 Tiglath-Pileser III

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 07:24 PM

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, 24 February 2010 - 07:25 PM.

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Currently attending University of Liverpool (PhD).

"Ah, you seek meaning. Then listen to the music, not the song."--Kosh Naranek, Babylon 5.

"Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. You’re stuck with this undefinable whipped-mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there’s nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while, there’s a peanut butter cup or an English toffee. But they’re gone too fast, the taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits, filled with hardened jelly and teeth-crunching nuts, and if you’re desperate enough to eat those, all you’re got left is…is an empty box, filled with useless, brown paper wrappers."--Cancer Man, X-Files.





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