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09/20/2018

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Peter Furlong

I work at Valencia College, which is primarily a two-year degree granting institution. (They changed the name from Valencia Community College when they began offering some four-year degrees--which was before I joined the faculty--but in most respects it retains the character of a two-year institution.)

My load is 5-5-2, but most people teach more than this (I have taught 14 courses each of the last two years). I still try to write, but it is harder to find time to do so. I have recently finished a draft of a monograph, which is currently under contract. With any luck things will proceed smoothly to final publication, but I will refrain from saying more until the process is further along. In any case, it was possible for me to write the entire book while teaching this much, but I had no time for working on other writing projects. In fact, I have an R&R that has been sitting around for more than six months, simply because I have not had time to revise it. The number of research projects I can juggle at once is certainly limited.

One difficulty to keep in mind is that you are likely to have few if any colleagues who work in the same area as you do. Because of this, it may be harder to receive feedback on your work than it would be at some other institutions (although you will likely encounter the same issue at many four-year institutions).

Another thing that might be a difficulty for some people is that there is likely to be little or no incentive to publish at two-year institutions. At my institution, for example, raises are not based upon publications, and although publications might not hurt a tenure case, they are not expected. On the other hand, this lack of pressure frees me up to write on issues that interest me, even if they might not be particularly "hot."

I tend to think that whether one can publish extensively from any given position largely depends upon one's work habits and motivation. Although there might be some editorial bias that keeps excellent work from getting published, I tend to think that the bigger hurdles are finding time (even if one has to piece together many little chunks of it here and there) and internal motivation to write.

I do find time to write, but I also make deliberate decisions not to let my work take over my life. I have a wife and children and want to make sure I am a part of their life. I rarely take any days off, even in the summer, but I also try not to work nights or weekends. Different people will find different work/life balances, and yours might allow for much more time to write.

Trevor Hedberg

I know one person who might fit the bill: my old grad school comrade Roger Turner teaches at Walter State Community College and has published several articles in metaphysics (in venues like Phil Studies and Pacific Philosophical Quarterly) since taking that post. Here's his website: http://prturner.weebly.com/

Paul

One thougt: is there rally any difference between a CC job and being a lecturer at a regional 4 year state school? I have three friends that I am thinking of, only one teaches at a TT job, but the other two are lecturers who teach 4-5 classes a semester, so basically the same in terms of load, research expectations, and opportunities for teaching electives. All three publish regularly. I will say that most of the publications are in smaller journals and edited collections, but they also present at regional conferences and so keep connected. This allows them to stay intellectually engaged, and I think they could move “up” (if it really is moving up) to a teaching institution that is a better fit for them, whatever that means for the individual.

I think that one major barrier is the lack of opportunity to “write what you teach and teach what you write” at a CC. These schools are often part of a larger system, and th syllabi are standardized across campuses. So, you cannot tailor the intro courses to better fit your research interests. Whereas you often can do this at the four year regional college. And as Marcus pointed out in a different post, even an intro course can be good fodder for research if you are creative.

Amanda

Some lecture jobs are likely a lot like CC jobs. I do think that in most cases having tenure at a CC job is more secure. And you might have a lower teaching load as a lecturer, and more chances to teach upper division. On the other hand, at the CC you are much more a part of the department when it comes to making decisions and serving on boards etc. For instance I think lecturers are almost never involved in hiring searches. How involved they are varies from place to place, but I get the impression some places offer little involvement and leave it up to tenure-track faculty.

Seen

The best indicator of whether you can and will publish in a community college job is whether you published before. If you haven't yet published, it is unlikely things will turn around, given the demands of the job. But if you have figured out how to publish, then the job will just affect the rate at which you publish. This is my experience, having watched a number of people at Community College jobs, and at so-called teaching 4-year colleges.

1st time on market

Thanks, all. Very helpful glimpse into some of the responsibilities at cc jobs and how they may affect one's ability to publish. Also, nice examples (thanks for sharing your own case, Peter). I'm glad to hear of so many who've done it.

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